How often have you heard that it’s better to give than to receive?
Giving is one of the greatest pleasures and gifts of life, uplifting ourselves and others and inspiring positive change. When we give in an authentic, generous and balanced way, giving has incredible power to make us feel good, bringing long-term physicaland psychologicalbenefits.
Yet while giving is rightly celebrated, the act of receiving is just as important. These complementary actions are part of the natural interdependence of life – one cannot happen without the other. Giving and receiving are aspects of the same flow of energy, and we need both in order to be happy and healthy.
The power of receiving
Because we’re often taught that receiving is not as valuable as giving, it’s something that many people find difficult. It may be that we feel unworthy, or indebted in some way, or that we believe receiving is not as noble an act.
In fact, learning to receive gracefully is one of the greatest arts we can master. Receiving is what enables the action of giving to take place – it is a necessary complement and a gift to the giver, allowing them to experience the happiness of altruism.
Receiving enables us to take in the resources and support that we need – from oxygen in the air we breathe, to food and water, money, guidance, love and care. It’s a vital act that nurtures and replenishes us on every level. Only from this full, resourced place can we give to others in a way that is healthy and sustainable.
Receiving is also a pathway into presence. Paying attention to the information we receive through our senses helps to expand and hone our awareness. Cultivating receptivity also supports us to allow something to be as it is, without seeking to control or direct it – a skill that we all need to be able to draw on at times as we navigate through life. Receptivity helps us to open more fully to our life experiences, to absorb and to savour them.
In all of these ways, receiving is a transformative practice. Learning to receive is one of the most beautiful and powerful things we can do – an act of self-love and care, a vital reciprocation to the act of giving, and a wonderful way to embrace our vulnerability, courage and interconnectedness.