I am a giver. I bet you are too. We’ve heard it our whole lives.
‘Tis Better to Give than to Receive
But is it? Or is the ability and the willingness to receive so much more important than we realize? I might even go as far as to say that receiving from someone can sometimes be the most important thing that you can give to them.
[tweet “They say, ’tis better to give than receive, but is it?”]
I’ve had a lot of thought about this concept in the last year – I have had to learn in a big way how to step back and allow people to give to me. It’s been an uncomfortable situation at times; you see, I like to do for myself. I don’t like to ask for help and I can not stand to appear needy. At least that’s how I felt up until fairly recently. And then circumstances knocked me down. I ended my marriage, I had a crisis of purpose, one of my children was going through some rough times, and financially? Let’s just say I was not feeling the abundance. And I have this friend, who would bring me things, a gas card, a gift card to the supermarket, a bottle of wine, those salt and pepper cashews that I like so much, even cash. And she was so matter of fact about it, just “here – take this”, that I never felt like she was judging me, or my situation and that she was simply giving me a gift. I learned in those instances how to receive and just say, “thank you”.
On more than one occasion, however, I would lament about how I’d not been able to show up for people in the way that I would like, in the way I had in the past, that I was so stressed about my own situation and didn’t have energy for much else. The last time I complained about it, she gave me yet another gift, she said, “You have been making deposits into so many relationships for so many years, and it’s ok for you to just receive right now.” Whew. Huge words. They changed the way I looked at the situation. I gave myself permission to acknowledge that I had spent a great amount of time doing for others, and I was truly happy to do it – until I just couldn’t – I didn’t have the resources, emotionally, physically, financially. So I didn’t. To learn to let others do for me, without knowing how I’d ever repay them, but more importantly, to know – really know that they didn’t expect me to, that it was not necessary. To really understand that they were doing for me, because they loved me, because they could, and to rest easy in the idea that they felt that I was worth it. Those words are hard to type, even now.
And more than physical and financial, even the idea of receiving a compliment was a trial. You know, the terrible, terrible habit that so many of us have. Someone will say, “I love your hair”, and we respond by putting ourselves down. “This rat’s nest? You must need glasses” – not only insulting our self, but their taste as well. Crazy, right? I’m still struggling with that one. But I try, and do mean try, to just say “thank you”. To receive the idea that someone likes the way we look, or the way we cook, or the way we dress, sing, or myriad other possibilities.
And now? Now that I’m able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m feeling stronger every day, if I pay you a compliment, do you a favor, or bring you a gift, try to just receive it. Because when I couldn’t do for myself others did for me, and I love the idea of paying it forward.