“It is better to give than to receive.” I remember hearing this statement hundreds of times when I was a child. I heard it said by teachers, “wise people” in the community, rabbis, priests, movie stars and news reporters on the radio and then TV. I have a feeling that I wasn’t the only child that interpreted those words as meaning you weren’t such a good child if you let people buy or give you things – that you were a little “less than” if you accepted gifts too easily. You should be the “Giver”. Of course it was okay to accept grifts your grandparents got for you. However, after you accepted a gift from someone outside your immediate family, you felt as though you were supposed to keep bowing down to the person who gave it to you because they were kind to you and somehow above you.
I’m not referring gift offers that come to you as part of advertisements. You can accept or not accept those as you wish. I’m speaking of personal gifts or gifts from organizations you belong to because you did great or extra work for them.
Please don’t think that I mean that giving isn’t wonderful. I can see that when I give from my heart I feel warmth and joy for the person I’ve gifted. The part of the statement, “It is better to give than to receive”, that I’ve come to realize is distorting the truth, is the implication that the one who gives most and receives least is the “good guy”! A person who receives a lot isn’t quite as good as one that’s a giver and doesn’t get much. The problem this kind of thinking causes, as I see it, is that the person on the receiving end may feel bad when they get a gift from a “giver” – since the words “better than” are included in that thought. Instead feeling thankful, they may feel a little “less than” the giver.
But think of this – if it’s bad to receive how can it be good for you to “give” to some one. Then you’re making yourself the “good one” AND you’re making the person you’re giving to the lesser person.
Are you seeing how nonsensical this thought pattern is? I’m not saying that a person who is always “on the take” and doesn’t often, if ever, give is in sync with the universal laws of love. However, If we hold that “it is better to give than to receive” we’re making the person to whom we’re giving something the ‘less good” person – even if it’s in their own mind. If that’s what they’re wrongly thinking, you’re not really giving them anything! If this is the case – it’s like saying they’re bad people. But – they weren’t “bad” before you gave them the gift. This is really crazy thinking. “Gracious Receivers” aren’t “takers”
The “Control” factor also comes in! Some of us were also taught that when someone gave you a gift, it usually meant they “were after” something. There was a tendency in my family to always want to be the highest giver. The highest giver was often thought of as the person in in charge…hmm…hmmm..hmm. Some of the “families” in Besonhurst, where I grew up in the 1940s and 50s used that tactic.
I say you can Say YES To You. You can graciously accept a gift and by accepting you can know that you’re saying YES to the person who is gifting you. It feels incredible to be cheered for giving someone a gift.
I don’t think it’s a great idea to say, as so many of the people I know were taught to say, “Oh my. You didn’t have to do that!” In a way it’s sweet in that it lets the giver know they went beyond the expected. However, it’s perfectly legitimate for you to get gifts. If you give them why shouldn’t people want to give them to you? I always feel great when the person I’ve gifted gets all excited and tells me how much they love the gift that I spent my time picking out.
Most people like to please – and – you deserve to get gifts. Why do you deserve to get gifts? Just because you’re you, that’s why! The other person deserves them too and that’s why you give gifts to them. It’s a joyful thing and it’s all based on love, which deep down I know, is the central energy in human beings.
Say YES To You and accept all the lovely gifts that come your way this Valentines Day – and any day – with a big smile. Keep gifting and smiling and I’ll bet you attract many more!