Appreciating the Benefits of Receiving

We often view receiving as a reflection of some kind of inadequacy on the part of the receiver. But this is not so. Receiving is as important as giving — listening, witnessing, observing, and paying attention are all part of receiving — and we cannot be truly spiritually open until we are as open to receiving as we are to giving, until we think of ourselves as worthy to receive what is given to us.

Some people feel they are weak or have failed when they ask for help, as if they don’t have the capacity to achieve their goals themselves. However, we all have strengths and weaknesses. If we focus on our strengths—including by asking for and receiving help with our weaknesses— we can achieve much more. If we seek help in areas where we are not particularly accomplished, we benefit a lot and we also give other people a chance to give – and giving is a blessing.

We live in a society where independence is valued as a positive attribute. Independence is a step forward from dependence. We have dependence and independence, but then we also have interdependence. Interdependence is the highest form of the three but usually to become interdependent you have to be independent first.   There is no harm in being independent but being interdependent can bring you to a higher level of achievement. Interdependence means giving and receiving. When you don’t receive, you lose out; you don’t get the full benefit of interdependence.

Some people are good givers; they keep giving and feel that giving is a joy – and they are right. However if they stop receiving, they lose their internal equilibrium because eventually only giving will deplete them.  If they also receive, they can give more because they replenish the store of what they can offer. Giving and receiving is what life is all about. If you look at nature, you see giving and receiving in all their dimensions.

We all practice reciprocity with others. If you get somebody’s help, it’s natural to want to help them in some way.  There’s nothing wrong with that. If someone offers to help you, accept the help. One day you’ll have a chance to return the favor, but it shouldn’t be a burden.

Receiving means being open to feedback, suggestions, guidance, mentoring, coaching. Receiving lightens your load and makes things easier.

Khalil Gibran sums it up well:

 “Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower, But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.

For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,  and to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.” 

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