Have you ever been here?
Nobody ever gives me anything I want. I do so much for others, but it never comes back. Why do I feel so needy? Why do I always give and never receive?
I have. It recently occurred to me that I had a blind spot, and that blind spot involved blocking the gifts of others, because of an imagined sense of debt that came along with receiving things others actually had and wanted to give me. I was afraid of “implications.” I was afraid of the “obligation” to reciprocate. In the process, I often turned down the kit and caboodle. I unknowingly rejected what was unconditionally given by others. All along others were interested in sharing what they had. All along I kept my distance because of fear. And also because I had a fixed, rigid attachment to a particular thing or a specific action being delivered in a particular way.
Then I decided I wanted to be happy more than I wanted to be in control. An underlying current of resentment, and wanting to be right about a past hurt had kept me from opening to ever needing anything from anybody again. And I had even forgotten what had hurt me in the first place. Still, my body held the resentment valiently in place as an armor to protect me.
With the re-awakening of my body, I realize what it has been doing for me all these years. I appreciate the gift, and release the rest. It is not necessary to keep anything unwanted that comes with a gift. If I imagine strings attached, or if there are strings attached, they are not mine unless I accept them. Any conditions that have not been spelled out are Not Real. They are only real if the person they belong to speaks them; puts them on the table, so they can be considered. As long as they are just lurking, they are not real. They are imagined. They are not part of the transaction. We are not respecting our boundaries or the boundaries of others when we “intuit” or honor strings over the expressed intention of the giver.
If we imagine debt and accept it as our obligation along with the gift, the transaction is soured, and the gift loses its value. It becomes instead a transaction of confusion and chaos in our lives.
Our challenge is to practice accepting openheartedly the gifts that others are giving, knowing that gifts often come in shapes and sizes that are unfamiliar to us. Accept the gifts given to you in the spirit of generosity they were intended. You have an opportunity to graciously take them into your heart. Recognize them for what they are. Recognize their inherent beauty and uniqueness. Feel them. Experience gratitude for the spirit of the gift and the vulnerability of the giver in the act of giving. Do not reject them out of hand.
Here is another idea: Other people are not my source of stuff. The gift is actually not the item or the service at all; it is the giving of it. Any tangible byproduct that results from the transaction is yours, and you are free to do with it what you wish.
What if the stuff of a gift were just a symbol; a token. And the real gift, always, were the connection and the energy that moves between people? What if the only real gifts were the 5 A’s of mutual love and personal fulfillment that David Richo talks about in his book, Daring to Trust?
Attention ● Acceptance ● Affection ● Allowing ● Appreciation