I consider myself a great giver. But am I really, I have come to reconsider this belief. I’ve reconsidered because recently I discovered what a terrible receiver I am. The rest of the story: Here I sit, with an acquaintance that has invited me to lunch at an expensive restaurant. After looking this acquaintance over I immediately judge his status. This thought comes to mind “I know he can’t afford to buy me lunch.” At this point I have made a decision to receive nothing from this person: But only because I am a good giver. We attempt to converse throughout the meal, however I don’t listen to half of what he is saying. I can’t listen, I can only think about getting the meal check before he does. I think like this because – I am a good giver. I miss out on getting to know this person. Why? Because I become obsessed with paying for the meal instead of accepting his gift – I am a good giver – but am I giving freely? We shall see. The check comes and this is when I am exposed as a poor receiver. The waitress sets the check on the table. I quickly grab for it, and say “I’ve got this.” Immediately my lunch partner’s countenance changes and I’m exposed as a bad receiver. He says, “Have you judged me? Have you assumed I am financially inferior to you?” “Why couldn’t you just accept my gift?” Immediately the pain in my heart becomes overwhelming. I realize, I have become such a great giver, my inability to receive has just robbed this man from being the very thing I thought I was – a good giver. I was going to apologize; however, I knew that would only temporarily assuage my guilt. Therefore, due to my inability to properly receive, this person chose not to be further acquainted.
Would you say you are a good receiver? When someone gives you something you weren’t expecting do you often say “Thank you so much, I truly appreciate this?” After saying this do you freely believe the fullness of what you just said? Or do you say thank you and you appreciated the gift while concurrently your mind says, “I can’t wait to reciprocate.” Up until recently I thought being a good and free receiver was being an ungrateful freeloader. Today, however, I believe a good receiver is someone who is mature enough not to feel the need for immediate reciprocation when given a gift or service of any value or monetary amount. To me a good receiver is someone who freely receives for the sake of bringing pleasure to the person giving.
Like most people I have always thought or been told: “It’s better to give than to receive.” However, I have come to question whether this statement is true or false. I believe it can be true. However, for it to be true I believe we must learn to give from the position of being a right receiver. If not, we may give from a self-serving emotional appeal, making it all about us, and not about the one we are giving to. In other words, giving from the position that giving is better than receiving is easiest because this position of giving is better gives self-serving pleasure and culturally validates our overall self-worth. Whereas receiving freely can be uncomfortable and requires self-humility, self-vulnerability, self-potential for pain, and potential for self-rejection. Let me explain why I believe this. I believe there are two types of receiving; natural and spiritual. Let’s start with the process of natural receiving, first. To me it seems that we can trace the need to rightly receive back to the beginning of our human being. Is it fair to say that culturally the basic premise of human life begins first with natural receiving? Think about the natural human fertilization process. We can believe in the natural fertilization process can’t we? After all we are living evidence of this process. Simply put, the egg receives and life begins. What would happen if the human egg was only good at giving and not receiving?
In my efforts to simplify I do not want to infer that receiving is easy. Whether receiving naturally or spiritually the act of right receiving comes only through intentionality. I believe, if we can learn to give from a good receiver’s position we can truly see the life giving effects; both to our self and others.
What do you think?