Today I will start by quoting a beautiful man, a monk, Brother David. This is what he said:
“The gesture for receiving is an open left palm. The gesture for giving is an open right palm.
Both are the same."
How can you say it better?
Think about it.
For eons of time we have been giving ourselves the same message: receiving and giving – are the same.
You can’t be a really giving person unless you allow others to give to you as well. Unless you also - let yourself receive.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s imagine a situation. You are walking down the street passing a shop window and suddenly you see something that you know your friend has been dreaming of getting. Right there and then you decide to buy it for him. You get incredibly excited. You can’t wait to see his face when you surprise him with this gift. You buy it immediately filled with the joy of anticipation. You can barely wait for the clerk to gift-wrap it, but you do. It has to look right, you think. And now you call your friend and say you are coming over. You don’t tell him why. It has to be a surprise. Happily, you arrive at his door, come in, hand him the package, all smiles and excitement… He opens it, and… he refuses to take it.
“You shouldn’t have,” he says. “I can’t accept it.” “No, please, take it back. I don’t even need it. I can’t use it… .” And he is not just being polite. He means it. He is not taking it. He will buy it himself one day. Or, worse yet, he offers to pay you for it. This is the only condition under which he’ll take it.
How do you feel? Warm and fuzzy? Seen? Loved? Cared for? Appreciated?
Or do you feel like someone has just slapped you in the face?
OK, maybe I am exaggerating, but only to make a point.
You had no agendas, you only wanted to make your friend happy.
And he refused to receive it. Refused not just the gift but – you.
And by doing this – knowingly or not – he hurt you as well.
Giving and receiving are the same.
A truly giving person is a person who gladly allows others to give to him. A person who receives their love and is genuinely grateful for it.
If we don’t let others be kind to us, love us, support us, help us with what we need – we are refusing to let in the love. Their love and love in general.
We are saying “I don’t need you,” I don’t trust you,” “I can do everything without you, thank you very much,” “Stay away from me, I am better off by myself,” …. .
It is a lonely life. A sad way to live, even if you are surrounded by a big family and believe you have many friends. Even if you are continuously giving to various charities and do volunteer work. Even then. The joy we feel when we are truly giving will be missing. This joy can only be received. And you won’t let yourself experience it. Nor will you experience the gratitude from the ones you give to, which is their gift to you.
I am often asked what to do to start feeling happy right now.
My answer is always the same: First, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Check for the “poor me” syndrome and turn it off. Then, turn your attention to gratitude. Find things you can be grateful for (and there always are!) and focus on them. And watch the feeling of happiness, happiness “for no reason” begin to spread though your body lifting you higher and higher. It is really that easy. But we have to want it.
I will quote Brother David again: “You don’t need to be happy to feel grateful, but if you feel gratitude, you are going to start feeling happy.”
I will leave you with this thought.
And if you have different thoughts on the subject, or agree with me totally, let’s hear from you.
Is gratitude something that is hard to feel? Or does it come naturally? And what about receiving? How are you doing with that?