The Art of Giving… and Receiving

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Dr Ottilia Brown

The Art of Giving… and Receiving

Posted 23 Jan 2020

Mind & Body Health

Dr. Ottilia Brown

The Art of Giving… and Receiving

My inspiration for this blog came from my current personal journey of learning to receive. I experience the act of giving materially, emotionally and spiritually as one that comes very naturally to me… The act of receiving was less comfortable for me. And, as when one is open to learning from the universe, I have been receiving so much lately, highlighting the discrepancy for me between my ability to give and my ability to receive. I am also aware that for others the opposite might be true, where receiving may be easier than giving. Balancing these sides of ourselves is so important… It creates a harmony within and enhances the journey towards being the best version of ourselves. Let’s take a moment to understand the barriers to giving and receiving and how we can counter these. Remember that what we give is not limited to the material, it includes our time, our emotional availability, our spiritual resources, our self.

Barriers to Giving

  • The belief that someone has to earn your gift. This belief is rooted in the idea that relationships are transactional, and that the other person has to do enough in the relationship before they are deemed worthy of receiving.
  • The belief that someone has to deserve your gift. This belief may stem from a position of power where the giver feels that they have the right to determine someone’s worthiness or need before giving.
  • The belief that giving results in loss or lack. The giver feels that they will be left with less if they give. This belief stems from a misunderstanding about how true giving and receiving actually works.
  • The belief that giving depends on having… ‘When I have more, I will give more’ mindset. True giving generates abundance.
  • The belief that giving exposes the giver and renders them vulnerable to the receiver. Someone with this mindset may fear that if they give, people will think that they are easy targets and that they will be taken advantage of in the future.
  • Giving with ulterior motives. This could include giving for the purpose of receiving recognition or giving to encourage indebtedness.

Barriers to Receiving

  • The belief that receiving equals reciprocating. This imposes a feeling of pressure and hence there may be a movement away from receiving in order to avoid this feeling of pressure.
  • Feeling indebted and the belief that you have to give bigger than was received. This person cannot enjoy that which is given because they are always thinking about how they can top the giver’s gift.
  • The belief that receiving is selfish… this idea may stem from the age old saying that in giving you are receiving. While this is true, the opposite is also true… the acts of true giving and true receiving are not separable, it is only in doing both, that one can experience the joy of both.
  • The belief that there are strings attached to the giving. This belief stems from a feeling of mistrust towards people that give… there is a perception that the person is only giving so that they can ‘cash in’ later.
  • The feeling of loss of control and vulnerability when in the receiving position. This feeling may be rooted in the belief that the giver has power and that receiving is passive, and the receiver will therefore be indebted to the giver.
  • Avoiding connection… in the process of giving and receiving, there is a moment of intimacy, of connection. Some may feel uncomfortable with this connection and hence avoid receiving in order to avoid this intimacy.

The Acts of Giving and Receiving

Fortunately giving and receiving are behaviours that can be learned. I offer some suggestions on how to achieve both, keeping in mind that the one is always inextricably linked to the other; yin and yang if you will.

  • When one is not naturally giving it may be difficult to think of what to give.
    • Give of your talents, e.g. mentor someone,
    • Give of your resources, e.g. time, money, clothes or any items you are no longer using, blood, and so forth,
    • Give of yourself, e.g. offer a stranger a smile or a greeting, perform a random act of kindness.
    • Invest in your relationships, e.g. give affection, encouragement, love, forgiveness to those close to you.
  • Give without expecting anything in return and don’t talk or post on social media about what you’ve given.  In fact, forget about what you have given.
  • Give for the pure joy of giving. Be aware of your barriers to giving and try to suspend these when giving. Focus instead on the feeling of warmth and joy that is possible as you become more adept at giving.
  • Give from a place of abundance. Do not think about what you have or do not have. Have an abundance mindset and watch the belief of lack or loss that may be associated with giving. An abundance mindset can be created when we practice gratitude.
  • Receive with the right attitude and language… Practice saying ‘thank you’ instead of the usual discounting dialogue when someone offers you a compliment or a gift or an offer of help. Say it regardless of the internal dialogue and feelings of discomfort that may arise. The more you say it and focus on the feeling of gratitude, the easier it will become to receive.
  • Remind yourself of the pleasure you experience when you give and afford someone else that same pleasure by receiving that which is given to you.
  • Check the belief that receiving is passive and creates vulnerability. Instead choose to view receiving as a means of filling your universal cup so that you have more to give. Understand that truly receiving is an active gesture that creates a space for the giver to give.
  • Suspend beliefs that receiving is about reciprocating and outdoing the giver while just practicing the act of receiving and catching thoughts aimed at hatching ideas on how to reciprocate. Don’t do anything, and if this is really difficult for you, do something for someone else, not the giver as a means of keeping the giving going.
  • Recognise your own worth, your own talents, your own qualities and feel a sense of gratitude for these. Give from this place of worth… Receive from this place of worth!

In receiving with openness and true gratitude, you will have more to give… and in giving from a place of worth and generosity of spirit, you will receive more. May you experience the true joy of giving and receiving and may this joy generate abundance! Wishing you well, Ottilia


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