We need not feel inferior or diminished as receivers nor do the givers become superior in any way

Khalil Gibran in his famous book The Prophet succinctly says that while it is the nature of a bee to suck honey from a flower, it is the nature of the flower to give the honey. Thus neither is inferior or superior to the other.

When we receive from someone, it is very likely that we begin to feel indebted. Thus we either try to quickly give back and repay the obligation or continue to live with a sense of indebtedness.

What we do not realise is that it is as much the giver’s need to give as it is ours to receive. We are not diminished by receiving nor does the giver become superior. When the fruit is ripe it falls to the ground and does not ask the ground whether it is ready to receive. So also we must recognise that the giver also has a need to share, to give and discharge his or her obligation.

As a receiver, we must learn that there will come a time when we will also have to give and if we only nourish the thought of indebtedness, we will never be able to give with a full heart. If we cannot receive with an open heart, with genuine thanks and belief that it is our right to receive, we will never give back with the same alacrity and gratitude.

Receiving, therefore, does not make me less of who I am, nor does giving make me superior. Each role has a part to play in maintaining the balance of life, for if there is no one to receive who will we give to? Likewise if there is no one to give us where can we receive from?

The next time we receive let us recall Gibran’s wise thought and celebrate the reception, in so doing we will be able to rejoice when we give.

(The writer is an organisational and behavioural consultant. He can be contacted at ttsrinath@vsnl.net)

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