When I first found Reiki and learned the principle of energy exchange, I wasn’t exactly ready to embrace this in my life. I believed myself to be a “natural giver.” However, after many life lessons that revealed the need for greater balance, I began to take stock of my behaviors and attitudes.
I was definitely overly giving to such a degree that it made others (*fellow “givers,” that is) at times feel uncomfortable or “beholding” to me. I gave and gave and gave until it literally hurt. In truth, part of my healing journey after my lower back injuries in 1994 was to find a place of balance where I could give in alignment with inner knowing and balance and say “yes” only when I meant it.
Prior to that time, I was such a “yes” person that I found it difficult to say “no.” I was such an extreme giver that I had discomfort when it came to receiving. I even fended off a compliment with some remark that diminished what the person was telling me.
Other person: “What a beautiful blouse!”
Previous me: “Oh, this old thing. I’ve had it forever.”
Other person: “You look great today.”
Previous me: “That’s hard to believe when I got next to no sleep last night.”
Those who know me now may find this laughable, but this is honestly how I typically reacted to a compliment during the first 40+ years of my life! Most of the time I didn’t even realize how ungracious I was being in not receiving.
In the case of compliments, all the giver wants to do is lift you up, see you smile, make your day. In deflecting such a gesture, we diminish the other person and create an imbalance within ourselves and in the relationship. The kind person who simply wants to give a sincere compliment may go away feeling small and dejected as a result.
On the contrary, when we receive and graciously accept that compliment with a genuine smile from the heart and words of gratitude, the giver of the compliment is likely to feel uplifted too, and the two of us unite in creating a moment of joy that spreads throughout our day and the world around us.
Compliments are a great place to begin practicing receiving if you’re in the state of overly giving and failure to receive that I once called normal. This is a small thing that we can practice regularly. What I learned to do was to say “thank you” and just let the compliment wash into my energy field and into my heart. It does wonders to nourish and replenish and—as with all true balance in giving and receiving—ends up being a gift to both the giver and the receiver.
On the journey to balance, I took baby steps in the beginning in this way. I gradually started to incorporate an openness to receiving as a result.
Yes, I have had periods where I was out of balance since learning to honor this need for harmony in giving and receiving. However, I find it significantly easier after many years of practice to (a) sense the imbalance and (b) make the necessary adjustments in my behavior and mindset.
Yes, I still go overboard in the giving department on occasion. But now I realize that I must align with receiving by opening my heart to the Universe. When we welcome with gratitude the gifts that come naturally by virtue of seeking and aligning with balance, things begin to flow more freely.
Here’s an affirmation that I find helpful: “I joyfully allow the circle of universal flow to move through me in perfect balance. I receive that I may freely give. I give that I may freely receive.”
Understand that I am not suggesting that we all become “takers.” That would be as out of balance as being the ultra giver that I used to be. Swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other isn’t very likely for a giver in any case.
What we can do is work on opening to the flow. Yes, we continue to give when we can feel gracious in the process. A gift that comes from obligation only or from a feeling of “you did this for me so I have to do this for you,” is not a gift from the heart, and frankly those are the only ones worth having in my view.
If I give to someone when I feel empty and spent and like I have nothing left in me to give, that person is receiving far less than a true gift and is unlikely to benefit fully. They even may feel a “tug” of energy being drawn back to the “giver.” (I could write a blog just on that phenomenon!) I imagine most of us have received gifts that had strings attached or ones we knew weren’t from the heart. Is that what we want to offer others? I doubt it. As for myself, I would prefer to bring to the table only my best—always.
Unless I can give graciously with full intent, I know that I’m not really honoring the recipient or myself, and the gift holds no positive energy. So I still give plenty—whenever my heart tells me the need is there and I am joyful in the offering. Yet, I also receive now with the same level of gladness, gusto and gratitude for the exchange.
Each of us can open the space within ourselves to receive a blessing in return for the outpouring of love and giving we send into the world. In opening that space, we are replenished and renewed and have infinitely more to keep giving.
(*Note re second paragraph: A “taker” is unlikely to feel that discomfort as they feel this is their natural state as I did in being a “giver.”)
© 2016 L. Diana Henderson