“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.” ~ Brené Brown
Giving and receiving represent an essential cycle in our lives. Much emphasis is always placed on giving and how necessary it is. Because it is. So we’re comfortable with it, it feels great. And we don’t even need an immediate and direct experience of the effect whatever gifts we offer might have. Simply imagining the good that our gift might do or the joy it might bring is more than enough reward.
But what about receiving? That part of the equation isn’t discussed so much, yet it’s the more important one actually.
There are times when accepting a gift makes us uncomfortable. We imagine being judged, we might feel embarrassed or undeserving. We might examine motive or imagine becoming indebted without an option to ever properly reciprocate.
Yet receiving with grace is an act of giving…and an essential act of love towards ourselves and another. Only if we can receive without guilt or judgment, without feeling indebted, can we ever in turn truly give of our own initiative without seeking to compensate for our own guilt…without judging someone else for their weakness or needs…without expecting to be exalted by rewards.
We have to be able and willing to receive, to recognize that not every gift comes with “strings attached”…that what we are seeing are in fact not chains of debt but beautiful ribbons that represent tenderness, genuine affection and happiness someone else simply would like us to have and enjoy.
Receiving is a sharing, it’s a precious gift, and the necessary beginning of all giving.
And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
(I chose a photo of penguins for this post because they have this incredibly sweet tradition of giving the perfect pebble to the mate they choose. During mating season, penguins will search for the perfect pebble to present to the mate he/she most desires. If accepted, they mate for life. It doesn’t get sweeter than that now, does it?)