The most powerful ‘polarity’ for exploration is giving & receiving. This experience: walking along a continuum from all or nothing, either/or, total giving or total receiving often brings the biggest discoveries along with the most emotion. As they walk back and forth along the line, most people hesitate to step toward the end closer to receiving. The list of beliefs that show up is both predictable and uniquely personal. “It’s better to give than receive.” We have all heard that. How that plays out in our own lives is specific to us. This also uncovers more beliefs. The challenge becomes choosing your spot…where is your comfort zone? Then, how far are you willing to go in the other direction, typically toward the willingness to receive?
I invite you to try this right now, as though you are standing on a line the runs 5 feet to the left; receiving, and 5 feet to the right; giving. Where are you most comfortable? If you are willing to walk back and forth until your body tells you what feels right (that means…don’t think about it…just do it), you will find your spot. Be curious. Be open to what might be here for you. It’s not an analytical or intellectual exercise. Your body knows. Your heart knows. Your mind will tell you all the reasons and beliefs about it. Explore.
The result of playing with this for many years has been my awareness that receiving is an act of generosity. When I want to give to someone, it won’t happen if they aren’t willing to receive. If I gave you a present and you refused it, we would both lose. When we give and someone receives, both our serotonin levels go up. If there is a witness, their serotonin levels go up. As Brene’ Brown tells us, “We are hardwired for connection.”
Think of an infinity sign...the huge figure 8 lying on its side. Try drawing it now, make it a big one. Write the word RECEIVING inside the left loop, write the word GIVING inside the right loop. Trace the entire symbol with your finger, felling the movement from side to side.This is the symbol I use with clients, an opportunity to notice the flow.
We are moving along this continuum all day every day. Giving and receiving are fluid, continually moving states of being and doing.
Where do you hang out most often? What if receiving IS an act of generosity?
How willing are you to be that generous? Play with it, it could be illuminating.