Why you need to receive as well as you give


People-pleasing and giving beyond our means really is a very challenging issue for many of us. There is so much pressure to prove we are valuable and worthy of respect by giving as much as we can: our attention, doing deeds, giving money and the virtue of being extremely patient with the lack of reciprocation.

You do not want to be petty and selfish, do you? A question that haunts our conscience. Do you want to have an agenda to only be giving because you want something in return? As you can see, we complicate something that is meant to be natural and flowing between each other. Suddenly, we are over giving with no insight into the consequences of not receiving, like burn-out.

I wrote a previous blog about not sacrificing yourself to keep people happy because everyone loses if that is the case, but I wanted to share more on this because our habit to give is complicated and not easy to address. For example, this idea of giving but being afraid to consider that the person we are giving to is capable and ought to have the desire to give back in their way too. We often miss this perspective and the purpose of dignifying others by connecting to their capabilities rather than being an enabler of their co-dependance.

Let me play out an interesting way to see this. I have a way to give you something and let’s call it a dollar of value. I give you a dollar worth of value and you receive that dollar’s worth. Suddenly, you are grateful and compelled to give me a dollar worth of value in return. So now I have received a dollar worth of value. This instills gratitude and sparks me to into action to give you another dollar worth of value! What does this all mean? It is the same dollar of value being exchanged between us and no-one gets drained!

Energy keeps transforming through giving and receiving. It is no coincidence that a fundamental law of energy is that it cannot be created nor destroyed but keeps transforming from one form to another. We are equipped to shape it into a form in demand and in turn we have a demand for receiving energy in a form too, whether food, clothes, shelter, transport, entertainment, adventurous experiences and so on.

So why feel bad about receiving when we love to give and should expect others to also love it too? Why not expect they would want to develop their capability so they can create sustainable relationships?

The next time you give, you do not need to worry about what and when you will receive. However, if you give and give again and that person shows no interest in giving too, then unless you have decided that their age or disability is a legitimate reason, then don’t be afraid to redirect your energy where it will be reciprocated.

If you ensure most of your giving is being reciprocated, you will always be able to give without being drained. So when you give with wonderful value, expect like every interweave of a basket, that their thread is playing a part in the interlocking and before you know it, your depth of connection, trust and respect has formed such a strong bond that it can carry each other in times of hardship with no fuss at all.

There is nothing wrong with giving without receiving as long as your motivation is not to just feel worthy enough. Your worthiness should not be linked to giving endlessly and being drained. Sometimes circumstances will not make receiving equal for long periods of times. We have the ability to be resilient in those times for each other but the overall balance is vital.

If we pay attention to those who are capable but caught in the habit of being self-entitled long after they have grown into adults, then what role are you playing in their lives? Are you enabling their neediness because you get to be wanted and needed? Does this mean you are programmed to give until you are drained?

Those around you want to contribute and feel dignified just like you and if you believe they can and expect they will, they may feel hard done by initially because of their emotional attachment to receiving without caring enough to reciprocate. Soon enough, they will dig deep and discover they have so much to give and thanks to you, they have found a place in the world where they are worthy, capable and equal – what a gift to be giving anyone and don’t be surprised when you receive a lot for this gift.