How many times have we heard, “It’s better to give than receive?”
How many times have we given and discovered later, a hidden agenda of expectation?
How long have we carried a sense of either obligation to repay, or perhaps resentment for lack of reciprocation?
So why is it better to give than receive?
I have spent much of my lifetime, making sure I gave first and out-gave most individuals. It took me many years to understand the depth of my hidden or repressed need for connection, love, acceptance, and meaning, as the unconscious motivation behind this behaviour. It also took me an equal number of years to realize that I was a very poor receiver, from receiving a compliment, or a gift, to receiving adulation, from students, those I have mentored, or friends.
Recently, I was acknowledged and honoured for my 10 years of service as the Chair of the Phoenix Bridge Committee for Centres for Spiritual Living, providing resources and support to ministers in times of challenge and change. This was the perfect role for someone who knew the art of giving. This presentation was privately arranged from what, in retrospect, looked like weeks in advance, without me catching on! I was surprised by the honour but more so by my reaction.
When the new co-chair took the microphone and begin speaking, I knew what was coming. My emotions rose, I was shaking, hyperventilating, squirming in my seat, felt hot and flushed and my throat was dry. I can’t remember a time I have been so uncomfortable, mostly because I was quick to realize the obvious, my uncontainable resistance to honoring myself. In those most painful couple of moments, parts of my life flashed before my eyes increasing my emotion, because I saw into the heart of my child within, and the unfulfilled experience of feeling valuable to the world around me.
It is not better to give than receive. In my experience, it is best to cultivate an unattached generosity, motivated by gratitude and love, alongside a gracious receptivity, blessing the life of the receiver.
When an individual is dedicated to living a spiritual life, they are saying, 'I have the courage and the willingness to uncover all the false beliefs I hold of myself.' The practice of giving and receiving is one of the many spiritual laws that will aid in building mental and emotional well-being, a new mental atmosphere, strengthening one’s self-esteem and sense of freedom.
Cultivating a sense of receptivity goes hand-in-hand with demonstrating our true loving nature, in the form of unconditional giving. Here are the thoughts I affirm, when I find myself backing away from a gift waiting to be given -
I bring myself into the presence of the heart of the other, and their joy of giving.
I take a deep breath and realize that the nature of God is Love, and Love is all there is.
I open to receive in me, the love that I am and give thanks for myself as a beautiful expression of the Holy One.
All of us are created as perfect beings and left alone to awaken to this great discovery. May you learn to walk with your head held high, while you’re out-stretched hands and heart, serve to first embrace, the beauty of your own soul.
By Rev. Nadene Roger
I invite you to join me this Sunday as we explore more about the art of cultivating receptivity within ourselves.