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The Gift of Receiving

Learning how to receive is as important as learning how to give

by A Bologa  |  3383 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I remember visiting some good friends of mine, Mark and Joan and their three children, several years back. I there on vacation and I was just leisurely sitting with Mark and Joan catching up on how things were going in their life.

They seemed a bit stressed out because bills were high, the cost of everything was going up, and they were unsure of where they were going to acquire more funds to pay for everything.

Their eldest daughter Joy, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, came running in the room and abruptly dumped her piggy bank of pennies on the floor. Apparently, she had overheard mommy and daddy talking and had wanted to contribute to the cause.

I was a bit heart struck as I watched this little girl count out her money. It was about 99 cents total. It was all that she had been saving up. I was about to compliment her when I heard Mark and Joan laugh at her. They told Joy that it was not enough to help and that she should put the money away.

Mark and Joan are certainly wonderful parents.  But I believe they missed an important lesson that day. I believe they had the wonderful opportunity to learn a lesson from their daughter. I believe that in giving, one must learn to equally receive.

Culturally we are taught that it is better to give then receive. I believe the statement should be restated as, "It is a joyous, miraculous, and astonishing event when two parties give and receive." I know it's a little long winded, but I think you know where I'm going with this.

I see it all the time in families and relationships. I'm guilty of this as well. I see people's emotional cups drain because all they do is give to others. At times, people attach expectations to the giving and become discouraged when they do not gain anything in return. Then they stop giving all together.  When you rearrange the word "selfless" you get "less self." Giving and receiving should be about being more whole.

So how does one even know how to receive?

Rather simply, I don't go seeking it. I just allow and pay attention when the opportunity presents itself. In fact, I allow a healthy dose of receiving in my life. Because when I allow a friend, a family member or even a stranger to give to me I witness something magical. What I focus on is this celebration, this connection I have with them. I give them an opportunity to exercise giving as well.  And I'm very grateful for these moments. Because of the energy I get from these moments, my emotional cup is refilled and I am able to continuously give in return.

About the Author

This article was written for submission to NPR's "This I Believe" program. And inspired by my parents and my friends who are working moms. Also, I'm a Master Practitioner of NLP, Hypnosis and Time Empowerment Techniques. I have a private practice that primarily focuses on assisting others in healing relationships in their life.

Read more by A Bologa

6 comments so far...

  • This is an excellent article, thank you.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Almond on 12th June 2008

  • Bravo!!!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by frazzledmum on 23rd March 2008

  • Great article for all women, we tend to be givers. Thank you

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by wondermom on 23rd March 2008

  • Thank you, I needed to read this.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 23rd March 2008

  • Abby,
    That's a great article! As women, I think that we find it particularly difficult to receive. When I coach clients, I find that learning to receive--much less to ask for what they need--is one of the most difficult network lessons. Thanks for the great insights!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jeanne on 22nd March 2008

  • I think this is a tremendous article. I've thought for a long time that it is very rare to see people receive compliments, help or kindness gracefully. If you cannot think of what to say, a simple "Thank you" is perfect.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Anne Florenzano on 19th March 2008