Giving and Receiving
As we work towards greater balance in our personal relationships, communities and society as a whole, this topic of what constitutes reciprocity, “fairness”, sovereignty and support is commonplace. There seems to be this classic dynamic of the “giver” and the “taker” that we are working to remove from our programs of what relationships are.
Whether spoken or unconscious, the element of giving can come with an expectation of receiving. In the moment we may feel fully free in our giving; but, if after some time, it is not reciprocated, or not appreciated in the ways that we were hoping, we find ourselves in a position of resentment, feeling small, feeling used, etc. Most of us have likely been on both sides of this.
When experiencing this dynamic, on either side, there generally is a sense of imbalance within. The inner gyroscope can feel off, sometimes subtly, other times blatantly. If we tune into this sense of imbalance and can examine with objective curiosity as to where and why it exists, it can lead us to into a space of beautiful self discovery. Often, when we give space and allow our emotional reactions to “just be”, we can begin to trace deeper within, to the patterns, and deeper wounds that reflect in our present experience. So when there is an imbalance in giving and taking, both parties are generally reflecting for one another deeper patterns and wounds, the “hurt-hurt” kind of mirroring that has been so common in our relationships.
Teachers of many kinds come into our lives. A wise women once said the following simple words that washed through my consciousness like wave, the ripples forever shifting my perspective and way of being in the world. “Only Go Where One is Asked”. This principle was taught within the context of being a health care practitioner, however extends beyond the arena of healing work. Gifting and giving is part of what brings us joy in the existence, however the motivation is what is important to look at.
When we give when we are not asked, we set ourselves up for feeling unappreciated. Firstly, we may be making assumptions that we may know what is best for another. Often there can be history of feeling our worth is linked into what we can do for others, and often what is called “love” in our culture, is actually what can we “do” for eachother. So perhaps we have had relationships, with family, friends, lovers, where once we stopped “doing” for the other for whatever reason, the “love” was gone. Furthermore, there is a misunderstanding perpetuated within our society that our value is what we do and what we accomplish, rather than just value as inherent part of existing. So often we give to establish a place in someones life, to be a person of value. Ultimately coming down to fear of being alone, fear of abandonment, etc.
Those of us on the evolutionary path are working to shift and expand our awareness, which allows us to give within a space of unconditional love, without “needing” something in return. However this requires awareness of our own individual capacities and boundaries. When we give continually without checking in to see how we are feeling, we can find ourselves on the other side of that line of what can be given without expectation. We have given so much that we may feel depleted. Often this can creep up subtly, so we can cross that line of over-giving without reciprocity long before we notice. This can, depending on our emotional space, elicit within us feelings of anger, resentment, unworthiness, etc, which can then further perpetuate our false belief that we are somehow not of value.
Also consider, that there are times an individual is not in a place to receive. When support has come with strings in the past, it can feel uncomfortable to receive. I have often noticed there is a Hurt-Hurt relationship between those that feel unsupported and those that feel unappreciated. When one feels unsupported there can be the tendency to see things through this lens, thus blind ourselves to the many ways the universe shows up in support, focusing more so on the ways and channels through which we are not receiving what we are wanting or feel we are needing. When we have a tendency to feeling unappreciated we do the same, in a sense, “highlight” those times where are efforts are unacknowledged or unseen, metaphorically poking at those wounds of “not good enough”. Again, most likely we find ourselves bouncing back and forth between these roles within our various relationships.
On the other side of this, the receiving side, sometimes it can in some way feel controlling, suffocating, and highly confusing. Because, yes of course we want support, we want to receive, but there comes a point where the giving can feel like too much. Why too much? Perhaps we begin to feel that we then owe someone something in return. Perhaps its something we didn’t clearly agree to. It can be wrapped up in our own dependence and issues with scarcity. We feel we have to accept the support we can get, even if its not what we asked for, we shouldn’t push it away because, well, its what is available. However, again, this generally sets up a disharmonious energy within ourselves and the relationships. For one thing, the receiver can begin to feel a bit cold, a bit like an asshole, ungrateful because we want to accept the love and support, but because its coming through a channel we didn’t agree to, ask for or feel comfortable with, that we consciously or unconsciously push it away.
This is where is the classic “Ask for What You Need” wisdom bit applies. If we generally discuss what we are wanting or needing from people, but are not specific, those who love and want to support us can end up needing to make assumptions around how to best support. Often there can be a fear around asking for help, or perhaps simply utter confusion around what kind of support we may even want. Clarity and Communication is key. We all deserve love and support, and we all must ask for what we wish to receive, all while understanding that even when we ask, we may not get exactly what we want. So we have to be comfortable with hearing no. Also comfortable knowing that when we ask, and perhaps get a no in someway, the universe is still conspiring in our favor, and our needs are always met, in one way or another.
Fortunately, when we have developed a practice of mindfulness, self awareness and non-judgment, we can identify a feeling, look at it, understand and accept it, and communicate more clearly about how we are feeling in a way that doesn’t place us in Victimhood. This applies for both when we give, and when we ask.
There are different flavors to the give and take balancing act. Sometimes there is a pathological neediness energy that exists within certain individuals, a bottomless pit that no matter what we do it is never enough in the eyes of the other. We all have been around people whom we feel drain our energy, or who exhibit narcissistic tendencies, who have a distinct lack of awareness around their own role in dysfunctional relationships. These relationships often work to perpetuate wounds rather than offer a space for collective healing. The aware individual generally begins to notice this pattern, and often to say goodbye to the pattern, we must say goodbye to the individual, especially if there seems to be a resistance from the other party to look at themselves and welcome a shift.
Then there are those relationships which are generally balanced, generally feel in reciprocity, with two aware, generally loving individuals; where, at one point,
we may end up in a place that feels, sticky, where both parties are feeling off. These are evolutionary relationships, where the dynamic and roles shift over time, ever towards greater sovereignty, harmony and individual empowerment. This is where clear communication comes in, the ability to hold space for another’s process and ability to see and know that ultimately we are all mirrors for one another. We bless and welcome with open arms those that help us see more clearly, whether it be through beautiful appreciation and gratitude, or through the more seemingly uncomfortable moments.
Sovereignty as I understand it, does not mean alone, does not mean not needing support. However it means that there is a sure enough sense of self, boundaries and the patterns we are working to release from our lives, that we recognize when we are giving away our power. Whether that be through those energies of martyrdom, sacrifice, rescuing, pride etc, that inevitably breed expectation, resentment, aversion, hurt etc; which then triggers our deeper wounds revolving around self-worth, self-love and support. Self-Awareness and Self-Love is key, to then be able to communication with clarity to those we love. Then we move past those uncomfortable times with grace and potential for deep healing.
So with humbleness, curiosity, humor and willingness to let go, we manifest heaven within ourselves, within our relationships and this ripples ever onward and outward.