“Reciprocal” is possible only when we realize what has been given to us, and we can bring that realization into a greater and greater exercise of appreciation into our lives. When we do that, being increasingly generous is the natural outcome.
Giving out of our means isn’t just about giving from the surplus in our lives, whether that is money, goods, time, or self.
Giving from our means is an expression of giving from what sustains us to what has sustained us and enabled us to live fuller lives.
Giving back is essential to getting. Those who simply “take” never really get the message.
You have surely heard it said that there are takers and givers, or that the world could be divided into those who take and those who give. We have all known takers, and they are usually aware only of their own needs and they usually live with a certain kind of narrowness. They just seem not to get it. At any rate, they seem not to get the whole picture.
Takers just seem to be myopic. There seems to be something missing from their apprehension of the world. Perhaps it is not that they don’t want to give, or think that they really have so much, as it is that it just doesn’t seem to occur to them, not just to give from more than their surplus, but to give from their means.
And here is the rub of this notion of reciprocity. Many think they are reciprocal just by being their narrow selves, and others are too reciprocal for the wrong reason. For sure, there are those who are takers, but it cannot be denied that there are givers who give for the wrong reasons or who give too much in the wrong places.
These givers do so to please others, or out of obligation or to be liked, perhaps even to be thought generous. These givers are certainly better than the takers for they are, but they are just not living the fullness and freedom of genuine reciprocity. They seem to miss the joy.
So we are noticing here two groups. There are those to whom it does not occur to be reciprocal. Then there are those who give but are not reciprocal because their giving does not represent a capacity to give from the “heart” or the desire to do so. There is not real reciprocity.
They cannot recognize what they have received and give freely and generously in response from that freedom, but rather from a sense of inner obligation rooted in other motives. Both represent blocks to giving and both reflect blocks to wholeness and the flow of reciprocity.
Growing positivity will be at odds with both of these tendencies because they do not fit into any group of a person’s strengths, because strengths are values laden.
How we are attached or how we “attach” is at the heart of this. We are wired for reciprocity very early on, as we are wired for attachment to the world around us.
You might say that we are conditioned to be truly reciprocal from the earliest implicit memories (before our recall of memories was actually formed) and from explicit memories that we can recall. All of this has “conditioned in” what we attach to and how we do it. It is these patterns of attachment that will affect our reciprocity and, for sure, our means and our surplus.
© Dr. William K. Larkin