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Giving and Receiving. Feeling resentful or guilty?

Are you naturally a giver? Do you like to shower others with presents? How do you feel when you are on the receiving end? Do you enjoy receiving gifts or words of praise? The wonderful energy of giving and receiving should run smoothly, but if either role causes distress or anxiety, it’s time to find out why.

There are many different reasons why people believe they should give gifts at Christmas. Then there are those who say, “I’m not into this materialistic tradition” and opt out completely. I believe the reason behind giving and receiving gifts has been lost and it’s time we gave this some thought again.

Christmas traditions vary around the world, but the tradition of giving gifts seems to be at the core of celebrations throughout the world. Even before Christianity there was a tradition of giving gifts around the winter solstice when people showed gratitude for having had a good harvest. In some areas, sacrifices were made to Saturn - the Roman god for agriculture and prosperity. Saturn also represented equality, regardless of social status. In northern Europe winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Here the notion and importance of light came in with the celebration of the “unconquered Sun” or in some areas it was called “yuletide” - basically meaning the turning of the Sun. So, the elements of gratitude and equality and the sense of needing the light because it gives hope and life, echo through.

At Christmas people also tend to become more aware of those who are less fortunate, and donations are made to charities, special events are organised for the aged or sick, and most people seem to have an ingrained need to do good. Have you ever stopped to think why? Is it out of gratitude or guilt? When we give, the most important factor is not what we give, but how we give. This year stop and consider why you feel the need to give a particular person a gift, why you choose to donate to charity or help the needy at Christmas.

You should always give (at any time of year) from your heart, and you should never expect anything in return. This isn’t a competition! When giving unconditionally, your energy increases and your relationship with the recipient - your loved one or community - becomes stronger. If you give and feel empty or resentful thereafter, something is seriously wrong!

To be able to give, you must also be able to receive. Often, we are not taught the importance of knowing how to receive. By expressing sincere gratitude for any gift, we humble ourselves and give the person giving the gift the chance to make us happy. Press the pause button, feel the love you have just received in all its enormity! Learn to receive without feeling unworthy – stop and think of the giver – think of the love and happiness they are offering to you! Surely, being grateful for this is as important. By expressing gratitude, you are taking part in this beautiful exchange of love. As children we used to write thank you letters. Do you remember to thank those that have taken the time to think of you?

Giving and receiving are part of the natural flow of universal energy – one cannot exist without the other. If you give, you shall receive. It really is as simple as that. Now stop and consider the various things you can give. There doesn’t have to be anything materialistic about it! Give a smile to a stranger in passing, offer somebody your seat on public transport, say thank you to the tired cashier in the supermarket. The most cherished gifts are not bought online, but they are made in the heart. Write a poem to your partner. Draw a picture for your parents. You don’t have to be a child to make gifts yourself. Adults forget the joy of craftmaking, not to mention the excitement of sharing it with others.

As for donations – great! Just remember that these charities need help the whole year round and maybe set up a regular monthly payment to a charity of your choice or find out who in your local community needs assistance and offer to stop by once a month and lend a helping hand.

Learn to give and receive from the heart and let the natural flow of energy grow stronger.

Feel more connected and embrace the love of others!

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