Giving and Receiving

ceramic christmas present tilesMerry Christmas Tiles, Beth Hemmila: porcelain and green glaze

I grew up Lutheran and from an early age gladly became entrenched in both the sacred and secular aspects of Christmas. I can't speak for other celebrations that involve gift giving, but I think it's pretty unanimous that for most participants, Christmas causes stress.

This year I got clear on the fundamental issue stimulating so many intense emotions for me -- the concept of giving and receiving.

It's hard to avoid all the propaganda around being a loving, giving person, but you rarely hear anything about receiving. In many ways, a lot of people are unaware that they are walking around with their receiver turned off.

I fully recognize that my core mechanism for giving and receiving is in the process of being rehabilitated. I've been consciously working on this aspect of my personal growth for the past five years, and my business Hint Jewelry is one of the mediums through which I am exercising giving and receiving. A business is a relationship, and I've found it to be a wonderful tool for toning my giving and receiving muscles. The more jewelry and charms that I give to others, the more money I receive in return. The more money I receive, the more money I give towards philanthropy. It's a cycle that continually revolves, growing and expanding each step of the way as I allow myself to give and receive more.

Here are some personal observations that I have made along the way.

When you stop giving to others, you open an empty space to receive from another human being. By participating in another person's moment of giving, you begin to understand that receiving is a type of giving that expands the circle wider. Giving can sometimes be as simple as doing nothing and letting others do instead.

Giving can feel invasive. Asking before giving allows another person the opportunity to choose if they are open to recieving. Appreciate any outcome.

You don't have to be open to receive nor do you have to be ready to give to another person. Always check in with where you are at in the moment, and this will be the most authentic experience. In being consciously aware, you are giving and receiving compassion from within, which is equally as important.

Sometimes the impetus to give or receive grows slowly over time. Be open to letting things change and communicate your need to mull an idea over. Answers can always wait. It's more important that giving and receiving come from genuine connection.

Give first to yourself. When your tank is full and you are balanced, then give to others. Never start the day on an empty tank.

When you are more giving to yourself, you are naturally more giving towards others.

All giving and receiving starts and ends from within. Always begin with your own truth in regards to giving and receiving, not what you think you should be to make others happy.


  1. Hi Beth,
    What you are saying seems counter-intuitive, but as a giving person with a very un-recieptive father (who HATES Christmas), I can say that it is absolutely true.

    It has always been so difficult to feel the joy of the season around him. And you cannot make someone receptive. It has take me several decades to be able to deal with his rejection. I have learned to not take it personally, but it still hurts.


  2. another great post, you hit the nail on the head on several important points.
    thanks for sharing your wisdom

  3. Beautifully written, Beth, and much food for thought. Thank you! A favorite Winston Churchill pearls of wisdom: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give". You definitely have created a life.

  4. Hi Emanda, sounds like a painful experience with your father, but it looks like you are giving the gift he may be wanting the most -- acceptance of who he is during Christmas. Your willingness to accept him despite your own needs is inspiring.

    Sandra, glad this one spoke to you on many different levels.

    Catherine, thanks so much for sharing the Churchill quote...always enriching!

  5. Beautifully written! I was nodding my head in agreement with all the ideas you brought out about giving and receiving. Growing up my mother showered us with gifts all through the year, where as my father was just the opposite. Confusing to us young girls to be sure! I still struggle with the concept of giving to others, and even worse, the concept of receiving. Funny how something so simple can be so complex.

    This year my kids are only getting one present each for Christmas. I know they will appreciate just being together. They enjoy the giving as much as the receiving.

  6. Alice, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this post! It is confusing all the mixed messages that are floating around when you're growing up. Like you I see this concept as an ongoing learning process. How cool that you and your kids will be experiencing giving and receiving on a variety of levels -- not just all about gifts! Hope you had a beautiful Christmas together :)


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