Genuine well being for ourselves and the planet

I am a big fan of the Saint Francis of Assisi prayer.  Thirteen of its fourteen lines resonate deeply within me.

I’ve been mulling over this one: “for it is in giving that we receive.”  Happiness research makes clear that giving is, indeed, one of the most vital elements of happiness.  I am all for it.  Big time.

But how can there be giving without receiving?  Are the receivers to be only those in need — economic, emotional, or otherwise?  Or do all of us have a spiritual obligation to be good receivers as well?  And, is that, too, a path toward happiness?  To rephrase the prayer, is it not in receiving that we provide others the opportunity to give?

I suspect that many of us are better givers than we are receivers.  Receiving — even complements — may make some of us uncomfortable (“oh, it’s nothing!”).  Perhaps we can learn to give greater happiness by learning to accept gifts in all their forms with greater grace.   It is in receiving that we give.

I’ll end by sharing a gem I found while looking for the exact wording of the Saint Francis prayer (and the correct spelling of  “Assisi!”).  It is a stunningly beautiful and powerful rendition of the Saint Francis prayer by singer Sarah MacLachlan.

And now I’ll happily receive your thoughts on this topic!

Comments on: "Tis Better to … Receive?" (1)

  1. Oh, Ginny, this is so true! I LOVE to give – it makes me so happy! Receiving, on the other hand, is sometimes difficult. Physical gifts are manageable but compliments can be torturous! I’ve gotten a lot better over the years and I think I do a pretty good job of accepting them on the outside but inside I still feel uncomfortable.

    I appreciate your flip on the notion of giving – I’ll try to remember that graciously receiving helps others feel happy about giving. Lovely.

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