At this time of year, the focus is 100% on giving. Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling to give from your heart, but how about receiving? Can you do that with an open heart as well?

The fact is many people find receiving much more difficult, but giving and receiving are two sides of the same ...At this time of year, the focus is 100% on giving. Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling to give from your heart, but how about receiving? Can you do that with an open heart as well?

The fact is many people find receiving much more difficult, but giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. If you wish to give me something purely for the joy of giving, and I am not open to receiving it fully, I am blocking your joy. I am therefore being extremely selfish. I need to receive what you want to give me in order to maximize your pleasure. Therefore my acceptance is my gift back to you.

So why not this Holiday gift-giving season resolve to be totally conscious about how you receive. Be aware of your discomfort when it arises. Log your thoughts about the gift and how it was given. Watch how you compare your gift with what others got from the same person. Notice whether you attach a meaning to the gift. Was your heart open to receive the gift purely as a gift, or were you calculating whether your gift back to them was equal in value? Did the gift make you feel obligated to reciprocate? Were you embarrassed by the gift? If so, why?

You may discover a lot about yourself by doing this, and let’s be honest, some of it might not be pretty. But it will be an opportunity to do a self-forgiveness worksheet and a self-acceptance worksheet in order to love that part of your shadow being revealed.

You might also need to do a worksheet on the giver if you felt slighted, obligated, misunderstood, or even insulted by the gift given. Or perhaps they didn’t get you a gift and you gave to them. Or even worse, they gave you an expensive gift and you gave them nothing. Was that a power play, perhaps? Or maybe they gave you something awful which you will feel obligated to keep and perhaps wear or use.

Remember, as I said in my previous newsletter prior to Thanksgiving, family get-togethers are ideal opportunities to heal and grow. Well, giving and receiving gifts is just another way of relating, not just as brother and sister, or mother and son, but as giver and receiver. There’s plenty of opportunity for button pushing right there.

Company gifts to their employees can create even worse discomfort and press deeply held shadow material about worthiness, self-esteem, value and need for approval. Employees are very sensitive to differential giving within the company and they do tend to keep score.

If we are to overcome our resistance to receiving in order to keep things in balance, it helps to remind ourselves of the criteria of what constitutes a true gift:

1. The giver sincerely wishes to give the gift for the sake of it — not out of a sense of obligation.
2. The giver genuinely feels that the gift will have value or meaning to the recipient and that he or she would pleased to receive it.
3. There are no strings attached and the recipient is free to do with the gift whatever he or she wishes.
4. There is no expectation of reciprocity.

If any one of these criteria are not met, then it is not a true gift. The only requirement in gift giving is that the gift is received. Period.

If reciprocity is definitely required, as some cultures demand, then it becomes more a ritual of exchange rather than gift giving. Unfortunately this is what Christmas has become and accounts for the madness in malls in the run-up to Dec 25th. People expect gifts and everyone feels obligated to give. It’s not a good experience for anyone when this is the case.

If you want to get some spiritual growth and fun out of the Holiday season family ritual, keeping in mind those four criteria, I dare you to try this:

Excepting your own young children up to the age of 15 say, buy no one a present this year, but be totally open to receiving a gift from everyone who wants to buy you one. Have no shame. Then, after you have shown a great deal of gratitude and pleasure at receiving the gift, thereby completing the exchange of pleasurable feelings associated with giving and receiving, say the following:

“Instead of buying a whole load of things you probably don’t need, I have made a contribution equal to the amount I would ordinarily have spent on buying presents for each one of you, to the following charity __________ .

“I also intend to take all the beautiful and wonderful gifts you have so kindly given me and spend some time finding some people who would like them as much or even more than I do. In other words, I would like to pass them on. It will give me so much pleasure to do that and that will be your real gift to me.”

Everyone will drop their jaws, but once people understand where you are coming from on this, it could make for a most interesting conversation after dinner that will probably last well into the evening. And I bet, in the end, that you will earn a great deal of respect from those who would love to have the courage to do the same.

The following year, go back to giving everyone a present and see how they receive it. A whole different discussion will ensue.

Happy holidays.


P.S. Take some worksheets with you.

Author's Bio: 

Colin Tipping is the acknowledged authority on the application of The Tipping Method, a 'technology' that has come to be recognized as the most powerful leading-edge system for personal and spiritual growth at this time. The Tipping Method technology & system enables you to create the happiness, peace, good health and abundance that is your true birthright. Colin created the Tipping method to better enable the "healing" of individuals, families, races, corporations and communities as we move forward into the future. Please go to to learn more about Colin, The Tipping Method & other Radical Forgiveness strategies.