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Is it better to give than to receive?

There is a saying that says, “There is more blessing in giving than receiving”. Do you agree with this statement?

How many of us have been taught to give more instead of receiving? The idea behind this teaching was originally to cultivate compassion and loving kindness towards others instead of selfishness. The tricky part of this teaching is that it also in some ways implies that in this giving and receiving process, the giving end is better. When the message is further distorted, it might even feel wrong to receive when it becomes extreme.

Giving and receiving is an exchange of energy. The energy is love. There must be a giver and a receiver to complete the process. No one can give if there is not anyone to receive. It must be balanced and when it is not, the flow of universal energy is blocked. When there is a block, it becomes difficult or impossible for good things in life to show up in your experience.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004), was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), as well as a 2007 inductee into the American National Women's Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of nearly twenty honorary degrees and by July 1982 had taught, in her estimation, 125,000 students in death and dying courses in colleges, seminaries, medical schools, hospitals, and social-work institutions. In 1970, she delivered The Ingersoll Lectures on Human Immortality at Harvard University, on the theme, On Death and Dying.

Elizabeth was critically ill for the last nine years of her life. She had to rely on others to care for her during this period. Being a psychiatrist who had cared and nurtured other all her life, she was angry and anxious about her condition. Before she passed away, she said,” I know that if I stopped being angry and anxious of my situation and let go, my instincts tell me it would be time for me to die. I am halfway there. My two lessons to learn are patience and learning to receive love. These last nine years have taught me patience, and the weaker and more bed-bound I become, the more I’m learning about receiving love. I have nurtured others all my life but rarely let myself be nurtured.” Sometimes, your soul puts you in a situation where you can finally learn the needful lesson.

Learning to receive love is a big lesson in life. Be grateful after receiving is yet another great lesson to learn. Even if the thing you are given is a sincere compliment, wouldn’t it be nice if you could receive it with an open heart and follow up with a heartfelt gratitude?


  1. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, with David Kessler. Scribner, 2005. ISBN 0-7432-6628-5.

  2. Wikipedia, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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