The Courage To Receive

For some of us, it’s very easy to give to others but very hard to receive from others.

Some of us may be convinced that giving and giving and giving without receiving is what we are meant to do in order to be “noble” and “good.” We may even be convinced that accepting the gifts of this life is something that only makes us selfish, entitled, egotistical, or greedy.

I will be honest with you: for the longest time I couldn’t see how my abundance could benefit anyone else other than myself, and so I didn’t really focus on it.

I focused on helping others instead and helping them find abundance in their own life.

I thought that this is what made me a “noble” and “good” person.

But I was wrong.

I was wrong because I had forgotten the fundamental rule of karma: that we are all interconnected.

A while back, I had learned the rule of Karma as it related to giving: I understood that giving to others was the same thing as giving to myself. I understood that, despite what others had said, karma had no delay—it was instant. What goes around doesn’t come around—it’s still here. It never left and it’s still doing its thing, even though we can’t see it yet.

This means that the good I do for others comes back to me right away. There is no delay. This is because nothing separates you from me.

And yet, even though I understood this basic spiritual principle, I seemed to have vastly misunderstood its converse, which is this:

The good I receive is the good that others receive–right away.

It sounds crazy, I know.

But if I can learn how to receive abundance in my life then, somehow, that means that you are more capable of receiving abundance in your life, too.

Giving to others is the same thing as giving to myself.

This is true.

But the converse is also true:

Receiving for myself is the same thing as receiving for others.

The Writer Who Receives Is The Writer Who Can Give

If we forget the second part of that karmic equation—that receiving is just as important as giving—we may find the writing process very difficult.

We may find ourselves trapped in a kind of sick, twisted, sacrificial martyrdom to our work. We might force ourselves to struggle and struggle and struggle for our work—to give, give, and give to our work until finally, one day, we become bitter, alone, angry, fearful, and burnt-out.

And why did we allow this to happen to us?

We allowed this to happen because we only asked that we give to our story, and we never asked to receive anything in return.

The Courage To Receive

For some of us, it can be very difficult to receive the abundance of life, even if it is abundance we deserve. It is especially hard for us if we are just not used to receiving this kind of abundance.

Gifts may come to us and we may turn them down because we think we are being selfish, greedy, entitled, superficial, or materialistic by accepting them. (Or worse: we may think we don’t deserve these gifts, or that we haven’t “earned” them.)

But if we are wise, and if we know what truly matters, why should we be afraid of these gifts? Why do we believe ourselves so weak that we think we will lose sight of all that we’ve learned so far?

Why should we be so afraid to receive a compliment about our writing, for instance? Why should we be so afraid to receive someone’s respect for our ability to build a name for ourselves in the writing world? Why should we be so afraid to accept an opportunity that will certainly help us grow and succeed—even though it’s not clear, right now, how taking this opportunity will benefit others?

Why should we be so afraid to receive?

When it’s all interconnected? When your happiness means my happiness, and the world’s happiness? When your joy, somehow, means my joy—even if it doesn’t seem as if it would?

Your abundance is my abundance.

Your wealth is my wealth.

As long as you don’t stop giving, you don’t need to worry about receiving.

It’s all the same thing anyway.

Believing that you only have a choice between being “a person who gives” and being “a person who takes” is a false choice.

You can be both.

You can be both a writer who gives to her work and a writer who receives something from it.

You can be both a successful writer in your own life and a writer who helps others be successful in their lives.

After all, it’s only if you give that you can receive, and it’s only if you can receive that you can keep on giving—indefinitely.

much love,


Today’s Courage Exercise

Receive the gifts that life is currently presenting to you. Recognize that by being able to receive these wonderful gifts, you are helping others do the same in their own lives.

(This is true, even if you can’t see it.)

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6 comments on “The Courage To Receive

  1. Laura Lamere says:

    Thank you for this gift today – I’ve received what you have given. Important stuff.

  2. timethief says:

    As Laura said above, this article is a valuable gift to us readers and I’m receiving it with thanks.

  3. Interesting. I had a profound impact at an art exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Art. The piece of art was interactive. The art was just a giant pile of candy in the middle of the room. You were allowed to touch it, this was part of the piece.

    I remember sitting there and thinking about the piece of candy before I took it: “Am I allowed to have it? What if someone sees me take it? This is a museum…someone will see me.”

    However, the whole point of the art was to take the candy. And in some ways, that’s the whole point of life.

    If you want it, take it!!

    Loved the post, thanks for sharing.

  4. I recently received a lesson in receiving from SARK (I get her Tiny Tidbits Letters) so it must be my karma to receive another lesson in receiving from you, Ollin. I like what the first 2 commenters said about it being a gift. And I liked what marlarosebrady said about the whole point of life was “If you want it, take it.” I have been receiving much goodness and kindness lately and it started coming once I relaxed into my situation and allowed myself to receive from others. It keeps coming and coming and coming. I’m learning to relax and receive happily. -Dana

  5. Evan says:

    I found this very interesting. Your kindness in giving such beauty and truth to the world brightens my day … quite often. 🙂 Thank you Ollin.

  6. Your blog was my today’s discovery! Great wisdom in what you say about giving and receiving.

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