A wise woman told me once that is it important to give if you want to receive. I was fresh on my spiritual path and I had internalized this concept in a very surface-level way. So I thought: ‘Hmmm ok, I want certain things for my life and it will be pretty easy to give things away.’ A very normal and transactional perspective of any twenty-something. 

It was only in my thirties that I really started understanding the concept of giving and receiving. Sometimes we’re unbalanced in one or the other. I couldn’t understand why I was giving so much, living with such an ‘open heart’ but I wasn’t quite receiving yet. I longed to break the salary bracket I was stuck in, I wanted to experience more satisfaction in my relationships, and I wanted a better life experience in general. I gave and gave and gave, sometimes until I was completely empty. 

In my thirties, I realized that the practice of giving was only half of the journey. I would need to travel the other leg of the journey too, and that was the right of receiving. I use ‘practice’ because there is a certain amount of intentionality implied and ‘right’ because there is a certain amount of self-acknowledgment implied. I had realized that my heart was only open to the outside but to myself, it had been shut. I did not know how to receive it, it was a foreign concept to me.

It meant I needed to go a lot deeper with myself, to get real with myself about how much I thought was okay for me to receive. I took a closer look at the opportunities that were given to me by friends, so that I could receive from them and realized I wasn’t really giving them an opportunity to really give to me – I was doing a lot of the giving: of my time, of my energy, of the shiny gifts. I started noticing my behaviour with giving and receiving. 

I started slowly entertaining the idea of receiving, being gifted, and being taken care of. It was the most difficult thing to do. It brought up thoughts of being burdensome to my friends and family. It made me feel shameful, it made me immediately feel like I would be indebted to someone else. I could feel the discomfort in my body as I allowed my mind to imagine this possibility. I realized that I had been avoiding receiving it because it made me feel uncomfortable. Therein lay my work and I started removing all the distorted thinking that got me to believe it was not okay to receive too.

When we allow one without the other, we are closed off. The experience isn’t complete if we don’t experience the other side. If we realise that we are all connected and moving through this experience as one massive wave, we must also realise that when we give to others, we give to ourselves. You know how good it makes you feel to give to someone and see how it impacts them. This is what I mean. In giving to that person, you also get something from the experience. In the same way, when we receive from others, we receive from ourselves. When someone gives you a gift, you would have to be receptive to receiving that gift. There must be some sort of permission you give yourself on some level, in order to receive it. What permission or allowance are you allowing yourself to receive? It’s your giving to yourself. 


Once we allow ourselves to give and to receive, we come full circle with ourselves.


Questions To Reflect On: 

  • Are you open to fully giving from your heart?
  • Are you giving with pure intent? Or are you expecting to get something back? 
  • Are you allowing yourself to receive from other people and yourself? 
  • What feelings are you wanting to avoid by constantly giving to others?
  • What feelings are you wanting to avoid by constantly receiving from others?

In love and gratitude,

A woman's hands holding a flower, symbolizing the act of giving and receiving
quote from the post
A woman in a meditative pose, reflecting on the balance between giving and receiving.

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