Giving is beautiful. The more you give the luckier you get. Some may call it karma. I won’t argue with that, I’m a big believer in karma. I compare it to frying an aubergine. You slice the aubergine. Pop it in a pan. Add oil. The aubergine soaks up the oil. You add more. It soaks that up too. You add more, wondering if there is ever going to be an end to the amount of oil this bloody aubergine will absorb. Then it happens all at once. The oil starts coming out. But this time it’s better as it tastes of aubergine. The same is true of giving support, of showing kindness, of helping others. It can sometimes feel like it’s a one-way street, but then stuff comes back. The karma bank begins to pay out.
But that’s not what this blog is about (but it kind of is). What I wanted to write about was receiving. Accepting compliments, support, advice, whatever. We are famously bad at it. Think about it. When someone compliments you how many times do you rebuff it?
“Oh this old thing, I just found it in the wardrobe”
“The time I spent helping you? It’s nothing, I was in town anyway”
“Oh the presentation that changed your life? It was nothing”
I hear this all the time. Deflecting praise. Refusing thanks.
But receiving is the other half of the giving deal. Rebuffing is rude. It devalues both what you have given and the value it had to the person you gave it to.
Giving is easy. You don’t have to look at yourself, to analyse your own needs when you give. When you give you’re the alpha, the helper. Ironically this is in itself a need. Addiction to giving is a thing. Addiction to giving masks other things and is as much about ego as it is altruism. It deflects attention from yourself, from understanding what you need. From looking at yourself.
Sometimes you need a better mirror and to look into it longer.
Learning to receive is important. Not to remove the addiction of giving but to understand why you gave and importance to others rather than just to yourself. Learning to receive is about:
Until we learn to receive we never truly give. It is a two-way thing. To know how to give well we need to know how to receive well. There are two roles here and it is important to understand both of them from experience.
Benevolence is not enough.
Givers get lucky but only if they’re open to receiving.