I remember visiting some good friends of mine. Mark and Joan and their three children several years back. I was in town on vacation and I was just leisurely sitting with Mark and Joan catching up on how things were going in their life.
The seemed a bit stressed out because bills were high, the cost of everything was going up and they were unsure of where they were going to acquire more funds to pay for everything.
Their eldest daughter Joy, who was about five or six at the time, came running in the room and abruptly dumped her piggy bank of pennies on the floor. Apparently, she had overhead mommy and daddy talking and had wanted to contribute to the cause.
I was a bit heart struck as I watched this little girl count out her money. It was about ninety-nine cents total. It was all that she had been saving up. I was about to compliment her when I heard Mark and Joan laugh at her. They told Joy that was not enough to help and that she should put the money away.
Mark and Joan are certainly wonderful parents. But I believe they missed an important lesson that day. I believe they had the wonderful opportunity to learn a lesson from their daughter. I believe that in giving, one must learn to equally receive.
Culturally we are taught that it is better to give then receive. I believe the statement should be restated as, “It is a joyous, miraculous, and astonishing event when two parties give and receive.” I know it’s a little long winded but I think you know where I’m going with this.
I see it all the time in families and relationships. I’m guilty of this as well. I see people’s emotional cups drain because all they do is give to others. At times, people attach expectations to the giving and become discourage when they do not gain anything in return. In turn they stop giving all together. When you rearrange the word self-less you get “less self.” Giving and receiving should be about being more whole.
So how does one even know how to receive?
Rather simply, I don’t go seeking it. I just allow and pay attention when the opportunity presents itself. In fact, I allow a healthy dose of receiving in my life. Because when I allow a friend, a family member or even a stranger to give to me I witness something magical. What I focus on is this celebration, this connection I have with them. I give them an opportunity to exercise giving as well. And I’m very grateful for these moments. Because of the energy I get from these moments, my emotional cup is refilled and I am able to continuously give in return.
For when you let go of the expectations that follow giving will you truly receive all that you have been wanting from others and you will appreciate what a gift receiving can be.
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