Giving And Receiving.

“Perhaps the most overrated virtue in our list of shoddy virtues is that of giving. Giving builds up the ego of the giver, makes him superior and higher and larger than the receiver…It is so easy to give, so exquisitely rewarding. Receiving, on the other hand, if it is well-done, requires a fine balance of self-knowledge and kindness. It requires humility and tact and great understanding of relationships. In receiving, you cannot appear, even to yourself, better or stronger or wiser than the giver, although you must be wiser to do it well.

It requires self-esteem to receive–not self-love but just a pleasant acquaintance and liking for oneself.”

John Steinbeck

What an unusual yet profound view ! Till I came across this quote, my understanding was that giving is very difficult and receiving is relatively an easy process. After I read this quote, mulled over it and thought about the times that I was the receiver, I have come to the conclusion that receiving is a far more complex and difficult process than giving.

Fortunately I have been blessed with very few instances where I had been the receiver of great gifts and so, each instance can be brought back up to current reflection and analyzed. Perhaps memory will throw up a few more instances in the next few days, but they are unlikely to change my view that receiving with grace, elegance and genuine humility is an extremely difficult process. On analysis I find this to be so, because we take it for granted that the giver is fully aware of the quid pro quo involved and so, why make a song and dance about it? If the receiving had not taken place with one particular individual, it would have taken place with another, so, say thanks and move on.

I welcome your own thoughts on this unusual quote and my thoughts on it.

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