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Syndicated Columns

It is just as blessed to receive as to give

Posted August 5, 2006

Q. It is pleasurable for me to give, but I have difficulty receiving. Can you help? -- F.H., New Jersey

A. In the Bible, Acts 20:35, it states, "It is better to give than receive." Many of us have heard this and taken it to heart.

We seem to have enormous confusion in this area: some with giving, receiving or both.

Giving is modeled by our parents, taught in church or synagogue. It's an especially familiar role for women who are conditioned to be caregivers. Giving is generally viewed as honorable and praiseworthy.

Some people feel better about themselves when they give. As Walt Whitman said, "When I give, I give to myself."

The more common problem is the problem you stated; the inability to truly receive. It's more difficult for many people simply because of cultural conditioning.

There are a number of other reasons why receiving is difficult.

Receiving, or taking, seems perilously close to selfishness, which has a lot of negative connotations. Also, we have not been taught how to feel comfortable with receiving.

Author and spiritual teacher Shakti Gawain said, "Receiving and giving are opposite energies that are inextricably linked together in the natural flow of life, like inhaling and exhaling. If one aspect of that cycle doesn't function, the entire cycle ceases to function and the life force cannot move freely."

Feel worthy of receiving. Say thank you and invite yourself to experience the gratitude that comes with receiving.

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