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How to give and receive with more grace and ease

Part I - Giving

How do you give? 

How do you receive?


When I mention giving and receiving, what immediately comes to mind? Giving and receiving tangible gifts? (It is the holidays, so that’s definitely an apropos thought-jump!)


We give and receive constantly every day, often without realizing it. We give our time, attention, energy, money, affection, physical space, and more. Sometimes we give physical things or gifts, but often we give intangibles to others – acquaintances, family, and even strangers.


We also receive intangibles like attention, affection, and energy from others throughout our lives, typically without awareness.


Today, I am challenging you to consider where and how you give and whether changing in this area could benefit you.  (Tune in next week for Part II – Receiving.)


Let’s dive in!  (You might want to grab a writing utensil and piece of paper to jot down your answers.)


What is something that you love giving to others (tangible or intangible)?  


For me, I love serving others in all areas of my life — professional, recovery, and personal. This entails devoting significant attention and energy to listening actively, observing, encouraging, and sharing or responding where appropriate.


Maybe you enjoy giving tangible things like birthday gifts or you give “just because.”  Another option could be giving affection and encouragement to your loved ones, like hugs, compliments, high-fives, and encouragement.  (These are all just examples; pick what resonates with you.)


What is your comfort level giving this thing to others?


If you selected giving tangible gifts, how do you feel giving them? Do you worry whether the recipient will like your gift? Do you fret over finding the perfect thing to express exactly what you want to say? *It is okay if you aren’t always comfortable giving in your preferred manner; we’re just data-gathering.


Do you shy away from giving hugs or compliments, worried about how the other person will respond?


I’m highly comfortable giving my time and attention to others. Occasionally, the person receiving my attention feels uncomfortable receiving it, and that’s okay with me.  I don’t determine how the recipient reacts, and I can empathize when she tries to deflect or shies away from being on the receiving end.


Do you give yourself the same type of gift that you love giving others? 


I‘ve coached many incredibly generous people who love giving to others yet struggle to give to themselves.  Can you relate?  I certainly can!


If you love giving others gifts, do you give yourself the things that you enjoy? These don’t have to be extravagant purchases, but if you enjoy giving others gifts, can you give yourself the same thoughtfulness and consideration when you select little day-to-day things for yourself?  This could be as simple as taking a couple of extra minutes to decide where you really want to go for dinner on a night out!  If your mind objects to giving to yourself, note the objection.


“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Teaching yoga, coaching, and working with others in recovery requires me to expend lots of physical, mental, and emotion energy.  I have learned the hard way to give myself more rest and relaxation or self-care time – to actually take a day off – so that I can refuel and refill my body, mind, and spirit.  Today, giving myself attention and permission to just BE feels more comfortable than before.  And the more I recharge or give myself the type of time and attention I love devoting to others, the better I feel and can show up for others wholeheartedly.


Which leads us to . . .


How do you give?


Do you give freely, enjoying your ability to give to someone else? Or do you give begrudgingly, with a sense of obligation?


Can the recipient respond to or use the gift in any way she chooses? Or do you give with conditions or expectations?  Other than a fabulous bow, do you attach strings to your gifts?


If you give someone a gift, do you expect a certain response or to receive a quid pro quo? If you give someone a compliment, do you expect them to respond to certain way, like you more, or return a compliment to you?


What happens when the giftee fails to meet your expectations? 


If you give with conditions or expectations, is that something you’d like to change or give up 😉?


I'll admit that I've given gifts out of a feeling of obligation. Looking back on those situations, any resistance or friction to giving freely and easily originated from my own internal struggles, usually stemming from feelings of scarcity or resentment. Today, after using the tools I've shared with you and similar processes, I'm able to give more freely, gracefully, and without agenda.


Practical application: Practice giving a little more easily this week

  • What is something you regularly give to others (tangible or intangible), where you sometimes struggle to give freely?

  • When you think about this type of giving, what thoughts arise?

  • How would you like to feel instead?

  • Is this something you give to yourself, or do you struggle to self-gift in this area as well?

  • What could change if you became a little more comfortable giving to others in this area?

  • What could change if you became a little more comfortable giving to yourself in this area?

  • What is one tiny action you could take this week to practice giving - either to others, to yourself, or both - in this area?


Let me know how it goes!


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