“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
― Alexander McCall Smith
And indeed most of us find it easier to give. Maybe you all grew up like me thinking that we should be giving and not being selfish by taking too much. In fact, when we receive something we might even feel guilty or not being able to know how to receive gratefully.
Think about it. When someone makes you a nice compliment, such as “you look great today”. Do you just receive it gratefully and maybe say thank you, that’s very kind of you to say”, or, do you immediately laugh it off and reply something like: “Are you kidding, I’m having a bad hair day and because I barely slept I just grabbed whatever clothes were laying in front of me”. And then, because you don’t know how to just receive without immediately giving something back you will most likely return the compliment: “So do you, my dear, I love your outfit”. Even if you have seen the same outfit a dozen times before.
The list goes on and on. We always offer our help to those in need. We always offer to help when someone is moving or needs an advice, but in return we find it so hard to ask for help. I’m talking from my own experience as well. I did most of my movings by myself (and I moved a lot). I didn’t want to burden anyone with helping me in their free time.
And each time someone gave me something: be it their time, or a kind invitation for dinner, I would feel I have to return the favour immediately.
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
― St. Francis of Assisi
And indeed, there is nothing wrong with giving a lot. It’s a very spiritual practice to give without expecting anything in return. We should not keep track of how much we are giving and how much we expect in return. We should give because we feel like it. Because it feels good. Because we love to give and help others.
But as everything on earth, everything has a natural flow. Look at nature: a tree gracefully receives the warmth and the light of the sun each day and the rain it needs to survive. It then gives delicious fruits to us humans, shadow to those who are seeking to cool down and breeding places for all the birds. A tree doesn’t feel uncomfortable receiving what it needs in order to survive. Because only by receiving all that nature has to offer, will a tree be able to give all it has to offer.
And it’s not different with us humans. We also need to learn how to receive gracefully. Be it love, a gentle hug from a friend, a gift from our parents, an open ear from someone who would like to listen to our worries. By blocking out the receiving energy, we eventually will block it all. By not allowing ourselves to receive, we will eventually get depleted. Our energy levels will be extremely low, we will experience chronic fatigue or a burnout, we will block the abundance in our life, we even block our love for ourselves. How can we love ourselves when we don’t allow others to truly love us?
Who are the truly inspiring people around you? Those who keep giving and giving and turn into a shadow of themselves, or those that radiate compassion and love for others and for themselves at the same time. Do we not find those people most inspiring who dared to step out of the box, those who dared to love themselves and their lives and made amazing career changes? Those people that had the courage to finally say “NO” and stepped out of an unhealthy or abusive relationship?
There is nothing more inspiring to me than observing people who start shining brightly in their own light, radiating it out to everyone else, inspiring others with their words, love and actions. By being the change themselves. By going through tough times and showing to the world out there: “Hey, I made it, and look at me, I’m shining brighter than ever before”.
These people would not be doing these things if they blocked out the receiving energy in their life. By allowing ourselves to receive we unblock new levels of abundance in our lives. We will attract new people into our lives, new situations and new opportunities. By accepting help and love from others, by building synergies with business partners, by allowing ourselves to be open to receive whatever is coming our way, we allow ourselves to grow. Any by growing we attract more and more growth and endless possibilities in our lives.
To those who feel stuck in their lives right now: Ask yourselves these questions:
- How much am I giving (ie, how much time are you giving to your job, to your partner, your friends).
- How much time am I spending on myself? (ie hobbies, pampering yourself, time where you just spend by yourself reading a book or listening to music etc)
- How much am I receiving back (ie, does your job fulfil you, are your ideas and contributions valued, does your partner, family and friends show their love and if yes, do you gracefully accept it all?
- Make a list of what you are giving out and what you are receiving back in your life
- If it’s not balanced, make a conscious decision to balance it by either giving more or receiving more.
- Make changes if necessary. (ie change career path, apply for a better position, become self-employed, walk away from toxic relationships, create your own space, step up for yourself etc).
EFT is a popular positive psychology treatment that is available everywhere. Don’t find an EFT practitioner near you? Try out the free resources on the internet, such as this link.
And last but not least: here is a little video about the law of giving and receiving with some useful exercises.
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