“‘Tis better to give than to receive.”
“It is only in giving that you truly receive.”
Sound familiar? Of course it is great to give because you can make others feel good, as well as yourself for helping to make people happy or providing them with some necessity in life that they may not be able to get in any other way. But, you cannot keep giving without receiving yourself – it does not have to come directly from those to whom you have given but…if you are in any kind of ongoing relationship with anyone, you cannot be the only one ‘giving’ without anything being returned to you by that same person.
The most common long-term relationships are with loved ones and these are the trickiest to navigate because your feelings can get in the way. With the exception of children (when they are still children) there has to be some kind of healthful reciprocity. This may sound cold but ask yourself this (rhetorical) question: Would you keep working for a boss, or a company, that never paid you? This requires a financial exchange but there are many other ways by which you may receive from others: companionship; work of some kind (e.g. housework, paperwork, teaching); transportation; clothing and other items such as, furniture, crockery, books and so on.
Rethinking What it Means to “Receive”
Unfortunately, there are those who want you to receive what they choose to give you as a way of manipulating you. Quite often, they will approach you first and be all ‘nice’ and even ‘loving.’ In these instances, as good as it is to receive, especially if it is something you really want, there will be quite a price to pay in the future. I will illustrate with a couple of my own examples.
Recently, I had someone approach me online who seemed very helpful at first, but as time went on, I realized that she was looking to steal my ideas. I also believe that she thought I would be grateful enough in the long-run (for all of the unpaid help she was giving me even though I did offer to pay her), to do whatever she wanted or needed me to do. When I became aware of this deception, I walked away from her which was fairly easy to do because the connection only existed in cyberspace. The biggest lesson for me here, was to develop my discernment skills in a new way in order to help me deal with those I only ever interacted with online – it was also about being far more discerning in relation to what (and from whom), I choose to receive.
Rewind about seventeen years ago (when I was in my twenties and still learning about life), a healer I used to frequent, offered to allow me to do one of her courses for free, as long as I paid for the materials which amounted to about twenty dollars. I was unemployed at the time and this seemed like a good opportunity, but I thought about it first. I had known her for a while and had seen how she took advantage of certain people – she was basically a user. I also knew, that she wanted to do more writing but did not have the skill to do it – I did. She had befriended a newspaper editor a few years earlier who had helped her with some work but at the time she made this offer to me, that relationship had ended. I put two and two together, and refused her offer. It was far easier for me to make a judgment about her because I had come to know her.
As you see, discernment is important for both giving and receiving. You need to be honest about your motives when giving and think about the motives of others offering to give you something. It’s not merely about balanced interchanges – integrity is paramount.