By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
We are in the middle of the “season of giving.” What is giving
without receiving? Do we all give as the rose gives its fragrance to
the air? Do we give in order to receive? Do we give with no ability
to receive from others? Do we give out of a sense of obligation to
the receiver? We have all heard the expression, “the flow of life.”
When we resist that flow, we become hardened, brittle and easily
broken. In order to create and maintain healthy relationships, we
need to exchange energy through both giving and receiving. I know
many people whose only sense of personal worth is dependent on how
much they give to others. They are willing to sacrifice themselves,
even hurt themselves, in the effort to give to others. For these
people, the flow of life is one way…always outward from them to
others. Relationships based upon this constant giving generate guilt
in the receiver and resentment in the giver. If I am always giving
you water, would you ever suspect I might be thirsty?
There are others who are only receivers. These are the people who
are so needy or so selfish, they never give out to others and are
always taking from relationships. Always getting what they want, no
matter what the cost to others. Lately, we have seen such examples of
greed and fear in highly visible individuals and corporations… let
alone in our politics. Relationships based upon this single direction
of energy flow, result in emptiness in the others, and guilt/anger
within the receiver.
Both chronic givers, and eternal takers suffer from psychological
stagnation. Stagnation is like stopping the flow of your blood.
Whenever your blood stops flowing, it begins to coagulate…to
stagnate. Non-flowing blood gives neither oxygen nor nutrients to the
billions of cells in your body. When the flow of energy is only one
way between people, relationships die.
The word “affluence,” comes from the Latin word “affluere,” which
means “to flow to.” Affluence implies “to flow in abundance.” When
we give and receive in harmonious relationship to one another,
relationships thrive and abundance is assured.
Every healthy relationship is one of giving and taking. Giving
requires a receiver. In order to receive, you need a giver.
Actually, giving and receiving are the same. They are merely
different aspects of the flow of energy between each other and between
individuals and the universe. If either person stops that flow of
energy, he or she interrupts the “flow of life.”
In order to be healthy, happy and fulfilled yourself, you need to
intend to create health, and happiness in the relationships you have.
Your intention needs to be to create happiness in both the giver and
receiver, because your own happiness, as well as the fulfillment of
others, is life-supportive and sustaining. In order to create joy
through giving, you need to feel joy in the act of giving. In order
to create abundance, you need to feel fulfilled by receiving.
In his book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success,” Deepak Chopra,
MD writes: “…Practicing the law of giving is actually very simple:
if you want joy, give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give
love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention
and appreciation; if you want material affluence, help others to
become materially affluent. In fact, the easiest way to get what you
want is to help others get what they want.” Isn’t that a radical
notion?! That translates: “the best way for me to succeed in life is
to help others succeed in their lives.”
This principle of personal success, found most easily through
helping others to succeed, works equally well for individuals,
couples, corporations, societies, and nations. For example,
traditional businesses operate on the principle of succeeding at the
expense of others (usually the employees). An example of businesses
succeeding only when their employees succeed in getting what they
want, is most often found in the industry known as “network
marketing.” Isn’t that a radical idea?!
Chopra writes, “If you want to be blessed with all the good things in
life, learn to…bless everyone with all the good things in life.”
When we work toward the fulfillment of all our relationships through
giving and receiving in dynamic harmony, we are actually practicing
“going with the flow” of life. Do this and you experience life, in
all its aspects, much more abundantly. Certainly, you will find more
joy in your life during this season of giving… and receiving.
Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach. He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.
Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist. He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”). Initial coaching sessions are free. Contact LJTDAT@aol.com.