As I wrap up the discussion of gratitude that I began in the previous post, I want to explore an essential aspect of genuine gratitude that truly fosters flow: the principle of circulation. While many people are extremely comfortable with giving to others, far fewer are equally comfortable with receiving from others. Raised with “It is better to give than receive” and “God loveth a cheerful giver,” many have mistakenly concluded that life is all about giving. But giving without a similar commitment to receiving blocks rather than fosters flow.
Flow requires free circulation, both inflow and outflow, with neither condition being desired, admired, or sought after more than the other. Giving with abandon accompanied by resistance to receiving is not what love looks like and it won’t encourage flow. Such duality indicates that fear has crept in and tainted what could, if fueled differently, be an act of love. The roots of this sort of circulation imbalance are planted firmly in misunderstanding the nature of power and assuming power is the same thing as force.
The misperception is based in the belief that giving will put me in the “up” position, leaving me superior and powerful. Once I succeed in giving to you, I can expect you to return the favor on demand in the future in whatever form I desire consistent with my unilateral terms and conditions.
With this definition of giving in place, it follows that I might perceive receiving would put me in the “down” position, leaving me inferior and powerless. Once I succumb to receiving from you, I will be obligated and vulnerable to acting for your benefit in the future—on demand and against my will—in ways that may conflict with my personal values and abilities.
The simple recalibration to these misperceptions is to realize that sort of exchange is not what love looks like. Rereading my previous posts on love’s essential attributes of respect, curiosity, and compassion will increase your clarity in that regard. As the giver, when you choose love as your core fuel, whatever the expectations of the receiver, you never give from a desire to control or manipulate others. And as the receiver, when you choose love as your core fuel, whatever the expectations of the giver, you are never obligated to respond from fear. Only you decide what is right for your life. What you give and receive, when, why, how, and how much are always yours to choose. In each moment, you have the opportunity to choose love over fear and behave in alignment with your choice.
Here’s an additional insight to help you move more comfortably into balance, harmony, and understanding concerning the roles of giving and receiving in fostering flow. The practice of “over-giving” is just another variation on the arrogance-based disrespectful interference we explored in the posts on respect. When we over-give, we rob the recipient of the opportunity to develop the healthy independence essential to personal growth and freedom. How do you know when this is the case? As always, look underneath your potential actions and be unflinchingly honest with yourself about whether your core fuel is love or fear. Once you recognize your fuel, you have the opportunity to respect yourself and the other by making a conscious constructive choice.
People sometimes respond to this perspective on giving and receiving by saying, “But Deborah, it just feels so good to give!” Yes, it does feel good. And when you refuse to receive with gratitude and grace, you rob another of experiencing that joy of giving. Much as you may not like to admit it, such behavior demonstrates greediness: hoarding all of that good feeling for yourself. When you give but don’t embrace receiving, you imprison yourself with fear and your gifts become tainted.
Remember to consider the big picture when assessing how well circulation is working in your life. Don’t expect direct reciprocity in relation to what you give. Adopt a “pay it forward” mindset and the God’s-eye view, knowing that the circulation you set in motion when you give to a friend or stranger, may return to you in ways you never dreamed of through people you don’t even know. When you celebrate giving and receiving with a sense of joy and freedom, you exhibit genuine gratitude and foster for yourself and others lives of generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy.
Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.
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