We often think of giving purely in terms of being the giver. We’re taught that “it is better to give than to receive” but what about the other half of the equation? We can’t give unless there is someone to receive. Which means that receiving is equally important, and equally worthy of being celebrated. Being a good receiver, though, takes practice.
We can cultivate the gift of receiving through yoga, which teaches us three key steps: mindfulness, openness and unity.
The first step in being a good receiver is knowing our own minds. There are many beliefs and fears that hamper our ability to accept gifts. We can feel we are unworthy, not like the gift, dislike the giver, or worry that there are strings attached. When we feel any resistance to a gift, we need to practice mindfully seeking why that is. We need to challenge our knee-jerk response of non-receptiveness.
Through mindfulness we can achieve the openness we need to be a good receiver. We cannot hold a gift in a closed hand, and we cannot receive if we have a closed mind and heart. Opening up means setting aside our insecurities (“I don’t deserve it”), ego (“It’s rightfully mine”) and fears about reciprocity (“I can’t repay this”). It allows us to look at the gift itself and the intention behind it. With a mindset of openness we are able to accept things in the moment and in the spirit of kindness.
Yoga means unity and it guides us to understand that there is no separation between “giver” and “receiver”. As long as we think of them as opposites, we will not give or receive in a true, heartfelt way. The truth is that giving and receiving are united; they are simply different expressions of a single interaction. They are like inhale and exhale: both parts form the breath, the breath could not exist without both.
Received a beautiful gift? Share in the comments!