Why is it more difficult to receive than to give

5 reasons why receiving is harder than giving

Source: Pixabay image by pixel2013

Many of us grew up believing that it is more noble to give than to receive. This edict protects us from becoming self-centered monsters - we scan our surroundings to see what we can extract to fill ourselves. Realizing the needs of others, realizing their feelings, and responding to the less fortunate people protect us from the unbridled narcissism that is going wild today.

However, prioritizing giving over receiving has hidden disadvantages. I'm referring to interpersonal relationships, not social policy, which could use a hearty dose of the golden rule. Is it difficult for you to receive love, care, and compliments? Do you wriggle silently when someone offers a kind word or gift - or do you allow yourself to deeply receive the gift of kindness, caring, and connection?

Here are some ways receiving is often more difficult than giving:

1. Defense against intimacy

Receiving creates a connection. Prioritizing giving over receiving can be a way to keep people away and defend our hearts.

To the extent that we fear intimacy, we can forbid ourselves to receive a gift or compliment, thereby depriving ourselves of a precious moment of connection.

2. Release control

When we give, we are in some way in control. It may be easy to say a kind word or buy someone flowers, but can we allow ourselves to feel good about receiving a gift? And to what extent does our giving actually come from a generous heart rather than promoting our self-image of being a caring person?

Receiving invites us to welcome a vulnerable part of ourselves. When we live in this tender place, we will be more available to receive the gifts that are offered to us every day, such as: B. a sincere thank you, a compliment or a warm smile.

3. Fear of attached strings

We can feel uncomfortable receiving something if there are conditions attached to it as we grow up. We may only have received compliments when we achieved something like outperforming sports or getting good grades. When we feel that we are not accepted for what we are but for our achievements, receiving can be influenced by the ongoing need for achievement, which is uncomfortable.

When parents narcissistically used us to meet their own needs, to introduce ourselves to their friends, we can equate compliments with using. We have been recognized for what we do, not who we really are.

4. We believe that it is selfish to receive

Our religion may have taught us that we are selfish when we receive that life is more about suffering than happiness. It is better to be selfless and not take up too much space or smile too broadly so that we don't bring too much attention to ourselves. As a result of this conditioning, we might feel shame.

Narcissistic claim - an inflated sense of self-importance and the belief that we deserve more than others - is widespread today. (Interestingly, a new study suggests that being rich can actually increase that sense of entitlement). But the dangers of destructive narcissism could be contrasted with healthy narcissism, which reflects the sound of self-worth and a right to enjoy the joys in life. Receiving with humility and appreciation - living with a rhythm of giving and receiving - keeps us balanced and nourished.

5. A self-imposed pressure to move back and forth

Reception blocks can be a way of protecting us from debt. We can guess their motives and ask ourselves: "What do you want from me?" Assuming that compliments or gifts are attempts to control or manipulate us, we preventively defend ourselves against any feeling of obligation or indebtedness by not opening up to the gift.


If everyone was busy giving, then who would be available to get all of these good things? By receiving with tender self-compassion, we allow ourselves to be touched by the gifts of life. As I wrote in my book: Dancing With Fire: A Mindful Path To Loving Relationships:

"The parched earth cannot let in life-giving rain when it is covered with a plastic sheeting. Without the ability to be touched by caring and appreciation, we make these gifts less meaningful. Holy receiving, letting things in from the heart. Gratitude is a gift to the giver When we are visibly moved, it shows that they have changed our lives and we can bask together in a non-dual moment where there is no difference between the giver and the receiver, both giving and receiving to theirs own way. This shared experience can be deeply sacred and intimate - a moment of delicious grace. "

Suggestion: The next time someone gives a compliment, a gift, or looks you lovingly in the eye, notice how you feel inside yourself. What is happening in your body Are you breathing relaxed and your stomach soft or contracting? Can you let in the care and connection? Bringing Mindfulness The pleasant, delightful, and perhaps even exhilarating experience of receiving could enable you to be more present to the present.

© John Amodeo