Giving? Receiving? We’ve all heard the saying “It’s better to give than receive”. It’s actually more than an old wives’ tale, it is a directive from Jesus Christ recounted in Acts 20:35 by His disciple Luke- In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ There are several reasons to support the benefits of giving, but what can be said for “It is better to receive than give?”
Receiving is equally important and beneficial. Let’s look at a dictionary definition of “better”. From Merriam-Webster.com:
- greater than half – for the better part of an hour
- improved in health or mental attitude – feeling better
- more attractive, favorable, or commendable – in better circumstances
- more advantageous or effective – a better solution
- improved in accuracy or performance – building a better engine
Definitions 3 and 4 are probably the most applicable replacements for “better” in the phrase “better to give than receive”.
Keeping our chosen definitions in mind, consider these questions:
Is it better to exhale than to inhale?
Is it better to be awake or to sleep?
Is it better to talk or to listen?
Is it better to speak to God/Universe/Source (affirm/pray) or to listen to God/Universe/Source (meditate)?
In each set of dualities, no one option is better than the other; rather each one is appropriate at a certain time. More importantly, you can’t have one without the other.
Giving and Receiving
So it is with giving and receiving. Make no mistake about it; receiving is the opposite of giving. One cannot exist without the other. If there is a giver, there must be a receiver. So the question becomes “Why do we celebrate the giver and giving and cast judgement on the receiver and receiving?”
Deepak Chopra teaches that “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.”
However, millions of people are ashamed or too prideful to accept any kind of support or assistance (gift) from anyone, including – and sometimes especially from – family members. How many people do you know who can graciously accept a compliment – the most common and basic gift? We tend to become embarrassed, discount the compliment and even self-deprecate! If we can’t receive from the people around us, how can we expect to receive from the Universe?
Refusing to receive hurts both the receiver as well as the giver:
- You deny the giver the joy of giving when you refuse to receive.
- When you refuse to receive, you become unable to give. You cannot fully give love, appreciation, money or other gifts if you have not received the same.
Society has made the acts of giving and receiving more of a quid-pro-quo than the flow of energy that they actually are. When we receive, we can feel indebted and in a position of inferiority. We work to either repay the gift, or not find ourselves in the position of accepting it in the first place.
How do we become good receiver?
Start by accepting love and gifts of attention, support and nurturing from the people in your life. If these gifts are genuine, this will help you become more able to receive without feeling compelled to give in return. Being able to let go and accept support, encouragement, and love from those closest to you will add a new dimension of trust in all your other relationships. Once you begin to realize that by receiving you are allowing someone else to give, you will understand that this give-and-take interaction is at the heart of all healthy relationships. You will begin to understand that the act of giving and receiving cannot be separated.
Oh…and as a point of clarification:
Jesus never said “It’s better to give than receive.” He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Merriam-Webster gives the definition of blessed as bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune, but consider:
- God/Universe/Source is ready and willing to give us our supply, but if we will not receive, then where is the blessing?
- The seeds contain the gift within themselves, but if the soil is depleted and cannot receive, where is the blessing?
- If our good wants to get through to us, but fear is monopolizing our thoughts and emotions so that there is no room for it, then where is the blessing?
- If we give to someone, but they do not feel deserving or are ungrateful, embarrassed, or feel obligated, then where is the blessing?
When you refuse to receive, you block the blessings of the giver as well as those of the receiver – YOU!
Challenge for you:
Deepak Chopra teaches on the Law of Giving and Receiving. He offers the following commitment for those ready and willing to accept it:
- Wherever I go, and whomever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth, and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.
- Today I will gratefully receive all the gifts that life has to offer me. I will receive the gifts of nature: sunlight, the sound of birds singing, spring showers, or the first snow of winter. I will also be open to receiving from others, whether it be in the form of a material gift, money, a compliment, or a prayer.
- I will make a commitment to keep wealth circulating in my life by giving and receiving life’s most precious gifts: the gifts of caring, affection, appreciation, and love. Each time I meet someone, I will silently wish them happiness, joy, and laughter.
This week, let’s focus on commitments 2 and 3 – but particularly number 2. The list of things that the Universe is willing and able to give you is infinite! Be open to accept them with both love and gratitude!
Hmmm…..what a coincidence that life’s best practices always lead back to the Law Of Attraction!