Most of us go through life desperately giving to people in hopes they will somehow someday eventually receive us.
At the same time, most people are desperately refusing to receive since they have bad associations with receiving being associated with obligations in childhood. As in those thank you notes that were so sincere that you were forced to write, the ugly stuff you had to keep so you could show your stupid aunt you really liked it when you hated it, everything else anyone ever “gave” you which was not a gift, but a thinly veiled attempt to get something back from you. What if none of that had anything to do with receiving? What if all of that were a big lie, a mis-identification of what receiving really is? Would you be willing to erase all that and look at things another way?
It has been clear to me for a long time that a gift is only a gift if the giver has no attachment whatsoever to what the receiver does with it. If I give you a sweater, I cannot expect to see you wearing it next Christmas! I have to have no opinion about whether you throw it in the nearest garbage can or keep it forever–otherwise I haven’t actually given it to you.
In addition, when someone gives me a gift with an obligation attached, it benefits me to be aware of the obligation they are trying to create, but I am not obligated to fulfill it just because they expect it! Receiving is just that–receiving, having the item as yours in that 10 seconds. You gave me this, thank you very much!
How would your relationship change if there were more clarity on giving and receiving? How would sex change for you if you could receive what your partner does without being obligated to do anything back–if gifting and receiving truly occurred, instead of a covert trade? What if you could do what you felt like doing that time,and your partner could do the same, without any score keeping or comparison between the amount given or “taken” or received? What would that be like?
This kind of receiving is not something that happens much on planet earth. What if that could be different?
I once gave a gift to an old friend of my husband’s, whom I also like very much. I gave her an hour long session of a hands on process called “the bars.” When she asked what I wanted her to do, I said, “Just lie back and receive.” This 60 year old twice married woman said, “I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me before. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to receive.” Wow! A whole life lived with no receiving? And how much desperate struggle and jockeying and unrequited longing must there have been in this life? What a sadness!
What about you? Would you be willing to change your points of view on receiving? How about starting now? You could start by noticing how often you refuse to receive, and making a different choice. In my next post I’ll talk about some ways you make receiving easier and more enjoyable for you. What are the infinite possibilities?