If you can relate to the feeling of trying to make everything an equal give and take, let’s chat. In a free 30 minute clarity session, we’ll talk about what’s making you lose that balance with the people around you. Then, I’ll give you an idea or strategy that you can put into practice right away to bring you back into balance, so that you can create better relationships with the people who matter most to you. Let’s schedule a time to talk this week!
There’s a phrase I hear a lot in my yoga practice. I’m not sure which tradition it comes from, but it says to give and receive equally.
I put a little buddha on my desk with his hands in the position of giving and receiving equally. He sits there to remind me of this ideal balance.
In American culture, it seems like we put a lot of emphasis on fairness, balance, and equality.
What I learned growing up was that if someone is nice to you, you should be nice back. If they give you something, you give back. If you do a favor for someone, they should do you a favor back.
You can always expect an equal, even exchange.
But life isn’t quite like that, is it?
What if the exchange was a little less even, and not so clear? What if you were to give and receive differently?
I went to a retreat last month with my business coach and colleagues.
We did an activity together that really impacted the way I see giving and receiving.
The activity was to identify our natural strengths. Out of nine options, my strength was summed up as the peacemaker (not a surprise!).
Then, our coach told us that each of us is naturally designed to help people in other categories with different strengths.
But the people in those groups that I help are not always the same people who can best help me.
I realized that to give and receive equally does not necessarily mean to give and receive with the same person.
That surprised me.
Because I had always thought I was supposed to give and receive fairly with the same person.
It totally shifted the way I thought about giving and receiving.
Have you ever had a shift like this, Friend?
Since that moment, I’ve been much more generous and carefree about my giving because:
1. I can give in whatever way seems best. I don’t have to give back in exactly the same way that someone gave to me, or with equal value. If a friend brings me food when I’m sick one day, the next day, I might offer to help my neighbor if she’s struggling to take out her trash. The giving is more inspired and less literal.
2. I don’t fear over-giving. I know that the balance is not determined by whether that particular receiver gives back to me equally. It’s not like giving money to a cashier in exchange for a new t-shirt. The value is not so literal. The receiving can come from the sunrise, a coworker, or a friendly smile at the coffee shop. I can allow those things to fill me up and make me feel good. And I know that it’s natural for those things to come to me. It’s part of the cycle. It’s the good being returned.
Each person has a different way of giving and receiving, and it can be hard to find the right balance.
Here’s to finding the right balance for you, Friend!