There’s always been something about the statement, “give freely, receive freely” that didn’t work for me, but I could never quite put my finger on it. The sentiment sounded so lovely, but I knew there was something I was missing. I needed to see beyond the freedom ideal, to the totality of the statement.
Have you ever been given something that is more work to receive than the value you place on it?
Have you ever been given something that came with conditions?
If I give freely, without restraint, I will receive freely, without restraint. But is giving, and receiving, in this way what’s best for me?
What I really need is to NOT be totally free. What I really need is to have some constraints. Because the truth is, sometimes, the thing I’m giving is something you’d benefit from NOT receiving.
Sometimes, I’m unbalanced in my giving. Sometimes, I give for the wrong reasons. You do not need to receive everything that I want to give you, just as I don’t need to receive everything that you want to give me. Sometimes, you and I give for the wrong reasons, and it’s important to honour this truth about ourselves.
I could leave myself open and free to receive whatever, and open and free to give it too, but I know that’s not what’s best for me. I could “give freely, receive freely” without bias, but then I wouldn’t be responsible to the whole truth of myself, and of you — that sometimes the things I want to give, you do not need; and sometimes the things you want for me to receive, I do not need. Sometimes, our giving isn’t helpful or generous.
So truly, giving freely does means receiving freely, and this includes exchanging all our “stuff” that would more responsibly be managed with more constraints, not less.
photo credit: Ari Moore