The difference between taking and receiving.

At a young age we were taught about the importance of giving, and hopefully, that has stuck with us as adults. We should still value giving, especially to people who have less than us, not just with material things, but intangible ones too.

How often though, do we give something because we want to get something? Or give because we think we owe, or feel obligated? Or abandon goodness altogether, and just take for selfish reasons?

And, here’s a question that will be tricky for some: do we give without receiving? There’s a balance that needs to be maintained for the ebb and flow of giving and receiving. If we mostly give, we’ll not only attract takers who connect with us for selfish reasons, we’ll also do a disservice to our good relationships. Without receiving, we deny others the ability to give and feel good about it.

So what’s the difference between taking and receiving? Receiving is a gift in itself. If we are gracious and appreciative to people who need to feel that they are contributing to our relationship, then we are not taking. Instead, we are giving them balance, independence, and confidence.

To gage how much to receive before it becomes taking, watch the giver’s face, read their body language, and empathetically listen. To help set boundaries if our generosity is enabling takers, ask for what we need in order to feel balanced. And if we are in the taker category, humbly start giving. Each relationship we have will vary, so we need to evaluate each situation separately.

Take action: Get more balanced when it comes to giving and receiving in your relationships. This action requires both parties to participate, and contribute, not 50/50, but appropriately for each. Trust your gut to gage what amount feels good. If one side is resisting, have a discussion and get on the same page before the next opportunity arises.

Inspired by’s article, Perceiving Reality: Giving and Receiving

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