Give to Receive or Receive to Give?

Give to Receive or Receive to Give?

Give to Receive or Receive to Give?

This seems to be one of today’s conundrums.

What’s in it for me?” is a mantra in much of today’s world & dealings; at home, at play, in business, in society.

When we want to sell to our customers we are told to put ourselves in their shoes & ask, “What’s in it for me?” in order to pitch our sale properly.

When we make a deal with someone we ask, “What’s in it for me?

And sadly, sometimes when we ask for help, we get asked, “What’s in it for me?

We have become so concerned with ourselves, No. 1, that we’ve lost a great deal of joy from our lives.

It’s about I, me, mine.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring that we look after ourselves & that we receive a fair share for our labours & efforts. But I think we can become so diseased with the “What’s in it for me?” syndrome that we lose sight of the true value of the art of giving in a relationship.  This cancer affects all walks & facets of society & life; from the ghetto to the boardroom;  from the child to the adult; from the minister to the congregation; from the politician to the voter.

The focus is on “What I can get?

But what if we were to reverse that question and ask, “What’s in it for you?

Suddenly we have a totally different dynamic where people start looking outside themselves towards supporting others.  Giving becomes more important than getting. Generosity becomes the focus rather than greed.

The major changes in society have historically been made where people want everything & where people have seemingly given-up everything.  The first usually brings war & conflict; the second can bring about unease but it can also be the source of a silent revolution which brings change for the common good.

The greatest revolutions for good have arisen from the ashes of someone sacrificing their time, energy & often reputation in order to pursue their objective  … ‘freedom from slavery‘ or ‘freedom from oppression‘ or ‘equality in law’; each of these cost time, effort & money but brought about a change that may have started locally but eventually shaped attitudes nationally, internationally, even globally.

So, do I give in order to get back; “What’s in it for me?” or do I give for the benefit of others, whether I get anything back or not; “What’s in it for you?

The interesting paradox is that we actually receive much more when we give what we have in order to benefit others without expecting any return.


I think that we know what it’s like to meet the ‘givers‘ in life: we love to be around them; we feel motivated; we feel encouraged; we feel GOOD!  Not only that, but for most of us, being on the receiving end of a giver makes us want to give in return & then to others.

We don’t give so that we can get back; we give to bless, help & encourage others & the spin-off is that others are blessed in return.

So, as I ponder this question, I ask myself, “Why do I give?

The answer is an evolving one, but I can honestly say that I now get great pleasure from giving, perhaps even more than in receiving.

I am aware that we can become as trapped in a cycle of ‘needing’ to be self-effacing & self-sacrificing‘ that it becomes almost an end in its own right & that is as unhealthy & imbalanced as being totally selfish.

Perhaps the knack is to be comfortable in our own skin; be comfortable with who we are & be secure in that. But I think that it also rarely happens naturally. It is counterintuitive for most of us & so requires time, effort & even support in order to make it work. But when it does … 🙂

Until next time …

About waywood

Hi & Welcome to my thoughts. I share subjects that are important to me. As you’ll notice, these subjects can be quite broad & varied. I like variety; I like breadth & I like a challenge. I am passionate about helping others overcome their fears, grow in confidence & succeed. Although many people would label me as an achiever, I have battled low confidence, low self-esteem & a couple of nasty, long periods depression over the years. I can’t say, “I know how you feel” but I can hopefully empathise & offer some of the things that are helping me to turn my life around. Please feel free to comment, share & enjoy. Take care, best wishes & keep well Stuart
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2 Responses to Give to Receive or Receive to Give?

  1. Rob Grayson says:

    Well said, Stu. I seem to remember reading somewhere that someone once said “It is better to give than to receive”…


    • waywood says:

      Thanks Rob.

      Yes, I don’t think I’m saying much that’s new 🙂 but I think it’s healthy to remind myself of the stuff I all-too-easily forget.

      Now I wonder who’s said this sort of thing before … ? 🙂


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