The Problem with Giving and Not Receiving

The gift of receiving may be the hardest lesson of all.

Posted Dec 19, 2020

There is a sacred power in giving a gift, receiving a gift, and the gift itself. When unencumbered, it provides abundant joy that feeds a heart more than any other experience. This triplicate energy is expressed time and again in multiple religions and spiritual ceremonies—perhaps because, at its core, it represents love in action.

pixabay image by Pasha 1000
Source: pixabay image by Pasha 1000

As an example, I remember saving all the money I earned through chores and jobs as a child and walking miles to the florist to get a bouquet for my mom because I heard her say she never had received flowers before and always wanted them. The joy that filled me in working hard and saving up for this surprise was immense. The flowers were so beautiful and fragrant that my eyes filled with tears and heart with excitement to present them to her. My mom then burst into tears upon seeing them. She hugged me repeatedly as she squealed in excitement and gratitude. I felt even happier basking in her gratitude and, together, we enjoyed those flowers until their final petals dropped. It was a marvelous experience that continues to be a cherished magical memory to this day.

But what happens when we block the ternary flow of love? What happens when we refuse to give, deny receiving and/or ignore a gift? I suspect the blocking of any aspect of love’s ternary flow is at the root cause of many problems in the world—and in our personal relationships.

Some people—maybe a majority of people—are better at giving than they are at receiving. They will say you should not have given them a gift. Worse, they could ask you to return it so that you could save money. Even worse than that, they toss it aside without any appreciation and completely ignore it.

I once crocheted a prayer square for my partner who had cancer. He carried it everywhere and cherished it. It was my first attempt at trying to crochet and was a miserable mess as it wasn’t even a blanket or scarf or hat. Still, he made me feel special and valued by how much he appreciated it and how he kept it with him (even as he passed). I am not saying every gift must be revered in such a fashion, however, I am asking you to consider how you receive gifts.

There is the story of the man whose house is flooding from a storm. He prays to God and asks for help. Neighbors come to the door as inches of water begin cumulating on the floor. He tells them to go on ahead because God is going to rescue him. As the inches quickly turn into several feet of water, a rescue boat passes with sirens and calls out on an intercom for people that need help evacuating. The man ignores the boat, believing God will do something. Once the house is completely flooded and the man is on the roof, a helicopter approaches and the man still refuses help and yells that God has a plan. The story ends with the man entering Heaven and asking the Angel at the gate why God didn’t help whereupon the Angel replies, “God sent you neighbors, a rescue boat, and a helicopter and you refused all of them.”

Check in with yourself and assess how you receive love and gifts from the people around you. Hearts that have been hurt can easily be hardened as a way of protecting oneself. Like the man in the flooding house, a hardened heart can judge the gifts and love from others as not worthy enough. Real intimacy can feel risky and attempts to keep love at arm’s length or to keep one’s heart protected by only giving and not receiving are problematic for they block the ternary flow of love. And any blockage to any area of the flow will prevent one from fully experiencing the gift of love.

Remember your heart is a gift that gives and receives. Both are vital. Clear the pipes and allow the flow of love to heal and reveal the magic of giving and receiving, the mystery of the divine, and genuine intimacy with others.