Are Giving and Receiving the Same? 

May 29, 2023 | Blog Articles

The act of giving and receiving has a powerful impact on relationships, not only with others but with us personally. Think about your past experiences with giving and receiving. After consideration, you may see that you’re better at one than the other.

Wendie Batho writes about the importance of giving and receiving, and why one cannot happen without the other.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

– Maya Angelou

“The universe operates through dynamic exchange… giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”

– Deepak Chopra

Giving and receiving are two aspects of the same flow of energy in the universe. It’s important to be both a good giver and a good receiver. Giving can inspire positive change and healing in a world so needing it.

The Attitudinal Healing definition of giving and receiving comes from an egoless place. There are no conditions, no expectations, and no boundaries put on the extension of people sharing goodness or love. When we have no goal or desire to change another person, or need to get anything from them, a different dynamic takes place. We can be present for that person in an egoless way, and we feel a sense of inner peace.

As we feel a sense of joining/union with another person, we forget about our own agenda. We become less concerned about our own feelings as we extend and expand. We feel the gift of giving and receiving becoming one. The supply is endless, and we become more and more expansive in our capacity to give and receive.

You have probably heard the familiar adage, “It is better to give than to receive.” It would be difficult to find someone who’d say otherwise. The act of giving elicits positive feelings and emotions for both the giver and the receiver, making it one of the most important exchanges we can have with another person.

Giving vs Receiving

The act of giving and receiving has a powerful impact on relationships, not only with others but with us personally as well. Think about your past experiences with giving and receiving. After some consideration, you may see that you’re better at one than the other.

  • Are you naturally a giver, a doer or a caretaker?
  • How do you react to receiving compliments? Is it with ease and gratitude, or do you get the urge to deflect or minimise praise?
  • What has been your history with receiving love? Does it come with struggle, cost or hardship?

Ideally, the exchange of giving and receiving is effortless; when there’s discomfort or struggle, it’s worth examining so that we understand why.

There is no doubt that giving is celebrated. You may have been taught the importance of giving by your parents, friends, religious influences or extended community as you were growing up. What probably wasn’t modelled (or celebrated) as much, was the importance of being able to receive. Perhaps you consider yourself a great giver, but if you have a challenge in receiving, over time you may develop feelings of resentment, anger or burnout.

We can’t pour from an empty cup. We need to know how to replenish ourselves and have our needs met. Ultimately, the better we are at receiving, the better we become at giving.

The Importance of Giving

The next time you give, ask yourself why you’re doing it and consider the motivation behind it. Your desire to give may be the result of various impulses and emotions, such as kindness or guilt. There’s no need to judge – just notice and see what comes up. Many of our behaviours come from an unconscious part of ourselves, resulting in default reactions. The more we are aware of our motivations and behaviours, the more adept we become at making changes that help us evolve.

While essentially we know how to give, here are a couple of tenets of healthy giving to keep in mind:

  • Give from a space of love, care or concern.
  • Give without expecting anything in return.

When we give from this open place within ourselves, we never feel like our cup is empty. It is a freeing and energizing experience and enables us to focus on what we authentically have to offer others. It strengthens our relationships and allows us to be open to new ones.

If giving depletes us, then this may be a sign of unhealthy giving. While there could be many reasons for this, having expectations is a common one that only leads to resentment or disappointment. Feelings of obligation and guilt can be a heavy burden and can negatively impact our health and wellbeing. There is no benefit to this type of giving.

The Importance of Receiving

Receiving is necessary and important. While giving may feel wonderful, it only works when there’s a receiver. Being a gracious receiver is a humbling experience and is an act of love because it offers a chance for others to give.

Receiving in this way is not based on an expectation that others should give to us because we’re more important or deserving. We can receive a gift without guilt or neediness, and without feeling obliged to give back. Perhaps we can’t receive gifts without negative thoughts popping up such as, “I don’t deserve this,” or “now I feel like I owe her/him/them.”

How we receive is just as important to the giver’s happiness as it is to our own. To receive in a healthy way requires us to let go any negative thoughts and instead, pause and reflect on the exchange and what it means. For example, friendship, support or love. This causes happiness in both the giver and receiver.

So Which One Is Better?

Let’s come back to the question of which is better: giving or receiving? The fact is, one cannot happen without the other as they’re intrinsically entwined. Giving and receiving are both aspects of the same flow of energy in the universe. It’s therefore important to be both a good giver and a good receiver.

Giving can inspire positive change and healing in a world that deeply needs it. Spiritual and religious leaders espouse the blessings of giving for a reason – it has the power to immediately shift us into a state of grace.

Spending time considering ways we can give is often accompanied by feelings of happiness or contentment. Giving comes naturally to humans as it taps into that innate part of ourselves that gravitates toward connection. It’s useful to become conscious of our current relationship with giving and see how it can be improved so we don’t fall prey to the downside of giving too much (or too little) of ourselves.

This is where self-care, in the form of being able to receive support, love, and encouragement from others, plays a vital role in keeping the energy of giving and receiving circulating in our life.

Here are Some Small Ways We Can Strengthen the Flow of Giving:

  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Say a silent prayer for someone.
  • Send a message of appreciation.
  • Give a hug.
  • Say “thank you.”
  • Give an anonymous gift.

If you find yourself lucky to be on the receiving end of these or other gifts, be sure to take a moment to pause and truly accept it with a sense of gratitude, honour and appreciation. In this way, both you and the giver will reap the benefits and feel truly blessed.

What Does ‘Giving is Better Than Receiving’ Mean?

Money may not buy us love but it might buy us happiness if we spend it in the right way, US researchers say. In studies, they found that the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is correct: spending money on other people or giving to charity puts a bigger smile on our face than buying things for ourselves.

We witness this kind of interaction – that of giving and receiving – in every Quest program. The Centre provides a safe place for people to extend themselves towards one another. We forget our self-consciousness. Through this, we become empowered by love, and we can reach out toward others without expecting something in return.

The person who’s being ‘served’ in this way is enabled to let go of their fears, judgements or anxieties and experience that precious sense of joining with others who truly understand their suffering. When people are truly operating in this mode, our fears can be released, and healing and a sense of peace takes its place.

Inspire positive change by giving – you can help people and communities recover from trauma by donating to Quest’s EOFY Appeal.

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