Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35
I grew up hearing that statement from my parents and teachers. In school, we were trained to be a man for others and were encouraged to share what we have whether it is our time, money or words of love and affirmation to those who are in need especially the poor.
Growing up, the importance of giving was heavily taught. However, I reached a point in my life where I learned that it’s actually difficult for me to enjoy the value of receiving. I know It sounds odd but I was reflecting recently and noticed that receiving things from others make me uncomfortable.
Why is it hard to receive? Receiving gives me a sense of guilt and unworthiness – whether it is in a form of a compliment or just a simple gesture like a friend paying for my meal or giving me a ride home. When a person says,”Ang galing mo naman.” (You are really good.) My most common response, “Hindi naman. Baka chamba lang.” (Not really. Just got lucky.) I downplay the compliment because I don’t want to look mayabang (not humble) or worse, I’d think that I don’t deserve the praise because I don’t see that I am really good in what I do.
In another angle, when a person offers help to finish an errand or buy me a cup of coffee, I tend to deflect because I overthink. In my head, there must be a sense of reciprocity and power play. Meaning to say, if this person helps me, I feel like he’s going to ask a favour in return.
The way I deflect a good deed shows that I am too stubborn to ask for help or receive support. If you think about it, it always seems like the giver always has control over the receiver. I hated it because it makes me vulnerable. It makes me feel that it is my obligation to return the favour.
Is this cultural? Common? Am I similar to other Filipinos? Are we naturally shy and embarrassed to receive a gift, compliment or take a piece of kindness? Or Are we too hard headed to receive something that makes us vulnerable or obligated?
Today, I am trying to learn and practice the art of receiving because I noticed that I undervalued myself. I need to remind myself all the time that I am deserving to have the good things in life. It is not that I am trying be selfish or wanting to feed my ego or be entitled but it is about honouring the fact that we are all worthy to receive because we have A LOT to give.
If you are reading this, maybe this is also true to you. Maybe you are also struggling to practice the art of receiving. Negatively, we give, give and give out of fear, loneliness or pride probably because we are ignorant of our own self worth or we are too full of our own selves. Due to these reasons, we feel like we are not deserving to be rewarded or praised.
Anyway, here are some ways that I am currently practicing to learn the art of receiving. These are based from the ideologies of two authors I encountered online – Dr. John Amodeo and Amanda Owens.
3 Ways to Practice the Art of Receiving
- Practice a positive monologue. Sometimes, we have negative thoughts when we receive something. We feel shy, awkward and feel the need to reciprocate. Dr. John said that we should get out of our heads and relax. Breathe in and let it all in. I practice to rewire my brain and lean on the positive side. I talk to myself with optimism. Furthermore, obligating or forcing myself to reciprocate somehow devalues the act of giving. Giving back shouldn’t be hard because it should stem from the value of love, passion and free will – not viewed as an obligation.
- Have an Attitude of Gratitude. We should be grateful that there are people in our lives who are giving. These people are those who put effort to offer their time, kindness and love. They are our real life gems and definitely worth keeping. Even if we are not comfortable with these givers, we should be thankful and acknowledge them. In this way, we can all clearly see our value as a person.
- Become Cautiously Vulnerable. This is hard because we are giving the giver an access to our mind and soul – some sort of power over us. Some of us have been vulnerable and eventually manipulated by others. However, it is up to us if we allow the manipulation. To be vulnerable is a way to genuinely connect with a giver. I practice it with caution because it is thru vulnerability that I was taken advantaged and insulted, which in turn affected my confidence and my perception of self worth. Therefore, we should know when it needed to be vulnerable . We shouldn’t be hard on the giver. Let the compliment, extra help or kind words make you happy. Dr. John says that… “part of self worth is to validate that it is OK to receive things.” Remember: we are all worthy.
So… Is it really better to give than to receive?
YES but it should not undermine the good we get in receiving. In a TED talk I saw on youtube given by Khrisna Deep, he shared this statement “The world we live in is a complex web of transactions. At the core of which lie two basic activities – Giving and Receiving.” In his discussion, he said that the origin of the word receive means to TAKE BACK. He opined that we cannot take back something if haven’t given anything that is why he said that the world should only focus on ONE activity – GIVING.
I agree with him but I still stand with my first statement above – we should also give importance to the act of receiving because we don’t practice it more often that some of us become anxious and stressed. We all need to become a gracious receiver.
I believe that no act is better than the other because GIVING AND RECEIVING should be looked at as one activity. We should see both as one because you cannot give if you don’t have a receiver and you can’t be a receiver if you haven’t got somebody to give. It is an activity that fortifies relationships – our relationship to others and to God.
Giving and Receiving are acts of love because we celebrate human connection. We strengthen our relationship through giving and receiving.
Looking back, to embrace the value of giving and receiving, I made this blog. The tagline “Faithful to be a better person each day for MYSELF and others.” is intentional because I want the word “myself’ included. It is a reminder that I must receive something to give my best to others. I guess… by freely opening my palms to accept things, it will help me become a better giver.
In fact, the Lord wants us to become receivers of His blessings. He said,”Ask, and it will be given to you; Seek, and you will find; Knock and it will be opened to you.” – Mathew 7:7
I realised that in His eyes, everyone is worthy to receive but we must follow His examples… that it is noble to give especially to the poor. If we help others, it will go back to us a thousand fold.
I feel like everyday He whispers to our ears thru His angels that He has a new gift for us to receive and enjoy. We just need to open our eyes and whole-heartedly receive it with love and gratitude because He knows all our desires in life.