I have always been a giver.
I love surprising people with little presents for no reason. I am a champion of random card and inspirational text sending. I enjoy coordinating birthday celebrations for friends and family, and I willingly take the lead in organizing annual holiday adopt-a-family efforts. It makes me feel good to make others feel happy, and I am not ashamed to admit that.
What I am a little slower to broadcast is that I struggle with being a good receiver. I think back to memories like the time I brought a gift for each of my hosting girlfriends when I arrived at my own baby shower. Lol. It was clearly a day when I was meant to receive the presents, and yet I could not resist offering something back to the people who wanted to give to me. It was a nice gesture, but also sort of a silly one. What made it so difficult to accept generosity without offering something in return?
The Hidden Side of Gratitude
These days, everyone is abuzz about the importance of practicing gratitude and giving back to the world. Especially during the holiday season, we are encouraged to focus more of our attention on counting our blessings and blessing others. Certainly, these are worthy calls to action which inherently create tons of positive energy in the Universe. Being a proud self-proclaimed giver myself, you will find no argument from me on the benefits of taking an attitude of gratitude and paying it forward.
But what about the other side of giving? What are the benefits of graciously receiving a gift, and what can we learn about ourselves when that part of the cycle is a challenge?
Abundance is a Two-Way Path
Abundance is another word that we hear tossed around a lot, especially during the last 2 months of the year. Defined as being an extremely plentiful supply or an overflowing fullness, abundance goes hand in hand with the theme of taking stock of blessings and kicking our charitable engines into high gear. When we recognize and show gratitude for the abundance in our lives, and share that abundance with others, we generate love in the world.
People often use the terms abundance and flow in the same sentence, and that is no accident. Abundance is indeed designed to have a very REAL and dynamic flow when it is operating at full and optimum capacity. It creates a seamless and circular flow of ease when it moves both outward and inward without interruption. You energize that flow by spreading the love and giving, and you also infuse life into the cycle by taking in the love and receiving. The energy must travel in both directions.
The REAL tea is that most people are incredible givers and mediocre receivers. The unfortunate by-product of this imbalanced skillset is a universal flow of abundance that is blocked and unable to provide the infinite prosperity that exists.
REAL Receptivity is the REAL Solution
A friend recently recommended that I buy a little red book called The Go-Giver. It is a quick but profound read that uses a fictional tale to describe what the authors identify as The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success. Without going into details that might ruin it for you (as I am hoping you will also devour it soon!!), the story unveils a very interesting recipe for cultivating abundance in every area of your life.
The laws covered in the book are listed below, with my favorite key truth defined and bolded.
- The Law of Value
- The Law of Compensation
- The Law of Influence
- The Law of Authenticity
- The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
“All the giving in the world won’t bring success, won’t create the results you want, unless you make yourself willing and able to receive in like measure. Because if you don’t let yourself receive, you’re refusing the gifts of others – and you shut down the flow.”
~Pindar, The Go-Giver.
When it is presented in this way, the concept of effective receiving makes perfect sense. When you willingly and shamelessly receive with an open heart, you actually offer the giving person the gift of knowing that s/he loved and supported you. Thus, when you receive, you are also giving in a rather unique way. It’s a simple concept, so why is it so hard to put into action? What gives? (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Reasons behind our challenge with the receptive part of the abundance flow are multi-fold. Society places almost all of its emphasis on teaching children how to be good givers (and next to none on developing the talent of gracious receiving).
Let’s be REAL honest: the idea that receiving and taking are useful skills to fine tune just isn’t a very popular one.
To compound the issue, your ego voice warns you away from the practice of receiving by scaring you with crazy, fear-based lies. These pop up in the form of thoughts such as:
- You are not worthy of receiving love or support.
- If you accept help, you will be in debt to someone, and the scorecard will be uneven (remember, this whole life thing is a competition!).
- You will look weak and display pathetic vulnerability if you take assistance from others.
- It is better to be seen as a giver, because it will gain you more admiration, approval, and clout. No one respects those who take charity.
It is important to remember that your ego operates from a place of scarcity. It worries that there is not enough to go around, and that you need to take an “every man for himself” approach in life in order to succeed and get an adequate supply of the goods. REAL living involves recognizing that the ego is just a scared little liar, and that it must be challenged and kept in check if you want to create a life of ease and abundance.
The next time someone offers you help, or a gift, or a compliment, pay attention to your knee-jerk inner reaction. Do any of the messages above surface? Increasing your awareness of these thought patterns is the first step in breaking the negative cycles they cause.
REAL Abundance for REAL Life
REAL living is fueled by gratitude and generosity, but it is also energized by receiving gracefully and gratefully, without the need to diminish yourself or bring an agenda of equality into the mix.
Now would be a good time to do an internal check-in and look at ways you might be cutting off the flow of abundance in your life. Take pauses, be aware of your inner chatter, and work to replace those paranoid ego thoughts with intuitive ones that reflect faith in the universe’s infinite supply of REALly amazing stuff!
The REAL truth is that the world’s well is always full and its harvest knows no bounds. There is more than enough to go around.
It is time to trash the old story that going it alone, without the support of others, is the best way to proceed. Let the love and kindness sink in, and allow yourself to be filled to the brim with the generosity of others. Give the people in your world the wonderful gift of receiving their offerings with pleasure.
Practice authentic receiving , and watch abundance flow freely and magically through and around you.
REAL living holds limitless abundance, and that’s the REAL tea.