When a person receives what we give them, whether they asked for it or not, they give us several gifts.

The Gift of Receiving

Part of the the Heart & the Law collection

When dealing with acquaintances who tend to ask more of us than they give back, we often develop an internal tally of ‘gives’ versus ‘takes’, and with each successive mark in the ‘takes’ column, we feel more uneasy about continuing to give. But this system develops because we view the process incorrectly: when a person receives what we give them, whether they asked for it or not, they give us several gifts.


The first gift of receiving is an acknowledgment of our generosity. The recipient willingly accepts our assistance, in essence saying, “I trust you.” If they did not trust us, our gifts would be rejected even if need for them existed. Thus, receiving returns the love with which our gifts were given.

The second gift of receiving is the gift of connection. In accepting our gifts, he or she recognizes a need or desire that we have fulfilled for them. We see the smiles on their faces, or the tears well up in their eyes, the gratitude that opens their own hearts.

The third gift of receiving is warmth. When our efforts are freely given to others, seeing those gifts warm the hearts of the recipients warms our own hearts in sympathy. We cannot help but feel the flames of our own generosity reflected back at us most fully when the recipient accepts our gifts without hesitation.

Anyone who has given great time or effort to help a dearly loved friend or partner understands the feeling – a sense of egolessness combined with a great compassionate joy when help succeeds. It is the calculating mind, the instant-replay complex, that begins to form judgments about who owes whom. In the moment of giving, only the receiving matters. Thus, when the recipient accepts our kindness, they pay us a great kindness in return.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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