GIVING is the true spirit of Christmas that we all believe in.
Following the wise and old adage of “It is better to give than to receive” becomes the common theme and spirit of the Holiday season.
And giving truly is a great thing. I simply want to add another part to give more understanding to and living in the true spirit of giving. And that is:
I remember when my oldest son was younger. I was trying to teach him the importance of that statement. As we talked about all the things on his Christmas list that he wanted to “get”.
I told him how giving is better than getting. How good and happy we feel when we give to others. You know all the great things a parent says in such a teaching moment with a young child.
As he sat in silent contemplation. I thought to myself. Yes the message is sinking in. He’s going to get it.
After a few moments he confidently replied:
“Well then I want to get so that others can give.”
At the time I thought that I was clearly not making my point with this child and had failed miserably in teaching such a valuable life lesson.
But since then I have come to see and understand some great wisdom in his words. And he has instead come to teach me a valuable life lesson.
Giving to others is indeed a great gift. It is truly reflected in the spirit of Christmas. And we are happy when we give to others.
“To give and take is the nature of human beings. To give without taking is the nature of the divine. Through giving we grow in divinity”—Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
It is said especially in talk of relationships that there is to be a give and take. We give something to others and we take something from them in return. Or rather we give in the hopes, expectations and desire that in some way we will get something back from them.
We give of our time and effort to our boss so that we will take home a nice paycheck at the end of the month. And we give even a little more so that we may take home some more in bonuses and recognition in the company.
We give to our spouses, our children and other family members and friends in much the same way. We give so that they will feel loved and appreciated for all we do and thus give us back some love and appreciation too.
A nice date night out, a quiet night to ourselves without the kids, a nice necklace or some flowers. Even just a simple recognition, a thank you, a clean room, doing the dishes…
…something, anything in return that acknowledges that we gave in some way.
We give of our times, talents, services, means, money, knowledge. We even and often at times give of our own sanity, well being and peace so that others may be at peace and have what they need.
And this we do because we are told: “It is better to give than to receive.” And yes I say again it is good to give. Giving makes us feel good.
But as my wise little boy has taught me over the years in his hidden and profound wisdom…we must also be willing and open to receive so that others can give. Receiving makes us feel good too.
Receiving in and of itself is giving. Giving is receiving and receiving is giving.
Taking and receiving are not the same.
Taking is of the ego. Receiving is of the heart. The ego possesses. The heart gives.
If somebody gives something then on the other end of that there must be someone to receive it. When one’s giving is truly and gratefully received then one has also given by receiving.
The receiver becomes the giver when the givers giving is received. And the giver becomes the receiver when the receiver gives their receiving.
Think of it this way.
You give a gift to someone, be it a physically tangible gift or one of your time and service. Then all they do is toss it on the ground, throw it away, or turn you away.
That doesn’t feel so good.
However, when such a gift is given and the person to whom the gift is given, graciously and gratefully receives that gift. It may be by giving a hug, saying thank you, or welcoming you in. Then there is a true and powerful exchange of giving and receiving that occurs.
When we receive such gratitude and kindness from someone it makes us want to give to them and give in such a way to others as well all the more.
So think on this:
If such a great exchange happens in both the giving and receiving then can one fully give without receiving? Is it truly better to give then to receive? Or is receiving as important as giving?
If giving is truly divine…and if the Divine, God, Universe, Source, whatever you choose to call it, desires to give us as EVERYTHING…Why then do we not fully and willingly receive all they have to give?
And by the way…this everything that God gives, it isn’t always given in the form of money, peace, and all things blissful, sometimes it comes as trials, and struggles and hardships to overcome. All of which we are still to receive in love and gratitude…but that’s a post for another time.
When we don’t fully and abundantly receive all we are given by God, including things we may not see as good givings…then we are missing out on a big part of the whole purpose and creation of life.
Living in the whole mentality of lack…believing that there isn’t enough. That we can’t have because then someone else won’t have. That we are only ever to give and never to receive for ourselves. That is not necessarily a deep place of humility and sacrifice to be in. It is actually a sad and lonely place to be.
Believing however that there is indeed enough and that we and everyone else are also enough and all are worthy of receiving all. That’s living in an abundance mentality. And that’s a wonderful and joyful place to be.
When we live and give and receive in abundance it makes giving all the greater.
The more abundantly we give, the more abundantly we get to receive.
When we so fully and freely give and receive we feel so full of love and gratitude, abundance and joy. Feeling this makes us want to keep giving so that others can receive and feel the same and want to give.
See how this works?
Give and receive… receive and give.
Sounds a bit more loving and from the heart than a mere give and take doesn’t it?
Just a little side note here.
Sometimes some people may not fully receive our gifts of giving. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still fully receive.
When we give to someone, it is their choice how they receive. And regardless of how they receive, we can always choose how and what we receive.
We can still be open to receiving all the love and peace and gratitude that we feel simply for giving. And also that God always gives us for who we are.
Opening your heart and truly receiving all the blessings and love of the universe that are yours just for being you is a powerful way to experience the true spirit of giving and receiving.
Now you may be thinking that you aren’t worthy or deserving of receiving certain things, let alone everything. And that maybe if you give more you will at some point become worthy.
This thinking creates the martyr mentality. Those who just give and give and give. They give in the name and attitude of loving and caring, which is great and noble and true. But they are giving and giving at what cost.
If all they do is give….how then can anyone give to them?
If they do not receive for themselves what is given there come’s a point when they feel they have nothing left to give. They are worn out and tired and depressed. Their ability to give has been physically and emotionally depleted.
But had they allowed themselves to receive…
They would have been filled with more power and peace and love and thus have more ability, energy and strength to give.
Receiving gives us more of what we need to give.
Peace, well-being, joy, happiness, gratitude, love.
All of these and more are things we get when we give…and when we receive.
You aren’t deserving of great things because of something you did.
You are deserving of great things because of who you are.
We all deserve great things in life and I don’t just mean possessions and money, although, those do apply. I’m talking knowledge, understanding, wisdom, peace, joy, health, strength, love.
We as God’s children as divine beings and great creations of the Universe, are all deserving of all that God and the Universe, so willingly desires to give us.
May we all be more open and willing to live in the true spirit of giving. By fully and gratefully receiving all that is given as well.
May you truly give and fully receive all the love peace and joy that is so abundantly available for all.
Please share with me your thoughts and experiences on giving and receiving in the comments below.