How to Use Giving and Receiving for Self-Care

How to Use Giving and Receiving for Self-Care

Naming the Ways You Give

Each day, we meet opportunities to give of ourselves, our time, our time, our energy, and our gifts. As parents and caregivers, you are asked to help your teen with homework or sign permission forms; there are games and performances to attend. There are household tasks that are calling for your attention, and so on. Certainly, you give so much to family members, friends, co-workers or colleagues, and your communities– school, place of worship, local government, workplace, and so on.

I invite you to consider the many roles you hold and the many ways you give to the world in a given day. You may choose to write these down or list them in your mind, whatever feels most powerful to you.

 

Stop. Breathe. Feel.

Notice how you feel after considering the many ways in which you give each day.

How does your mind feel?

How does your body feel?

Do any beliefs about yourself come up?

 

These qualities are just qualities and whatever you are feeling is welcome in this space. That is to say, this is simply data for you to take note of as we consider the ideas of giving and receiving.

Before we move on, is there anything you’d like to celebrate yourself for? Did one of your roles or outlets for giving make you feel proud as you listed it? Sit with this for a moment. Let yourself soak in the acknowledgment. Additionally, are there ways of giving that come naturally, feel like your gifts, or maybe even feel like inherent parts of who you are? Again, offer yourself praise or appreciation.

 

Checking In With Your Current Pattern

Next, I invite you to get out a notebook or a piece of paper. Draw a circle. Then, divide the circle into two parts. One part will represent the amount of time you have spent giving this week. The other part will represent the amount of time you have spent receiving this week. This is not a perfect science; instead, this is a simple representation of the ways you are currently experiencing energy in and out. Trust the proportions that come to mind first.

 

Stop. Breathe. Feel.

What do you notice about your pie chart?

What thoughts arise?

What feelings surface?

Do any beliefs about yourself come up?

 

This snapshot is meant to be a tool for checking in with yourself and your current patterns. You can reuse the giving and receiving pie chart to capture you energy in a certain relationship or in a certain timeframe. For example, you might consider how much you are giving and receiving in your relationship with your teenager. Alternatively, you can consider more generally how much you have given and received in a given day. I invite you to utilize this tool as often as you’d like as a means of checking in with your energy.

 

selfie of family of four

 

Naming the Ways You Recieve

What does it mean for you to receive? The most simple way that I define receiving is allowing and accepting. Receiving can also mean absorbing or soaking in; it means being present to experience the gifts of the world, others, and the moment. Here, I invite you to consider the diverse ways you receive– from yourself and others. Again, you may choose to write these down or list them in your mind, whatever feels most powerful to you.

 

Stop. Breathe. Feel.

Notice how you feel after considering the many ways in which you receive each day.

How does your mind feel?

How does your body feel?

Do any beliefs about yourself come up?

 

Looking at your list, which forms of receiving feel the most natural? Accessible? Fun? Supportive? Healing? And so on. Consider how different ways of receiving land with you. What qualities do they have? What desires do they inspire? What appreciation do they elicit?

Again, this is all data and information to consider. That’s it. It’s not a diagnosis or something to label as a “failure” or a “success.” I invite you to be gentle with yourself as you face whatever has come up through this practice.

 

Developing a New Lens of Giving and Receiving

In my experience in working with parents of teenagers (and teenagers themselves), I have learned that it is often “easier” for people to give than it is to receive. We live in a busy, fast-paced world, and you have a lot on your plate. It is my hope that this reflective practice offers you new vocabulary and a new lens through which you can see your to-do lists, your daily routines, and the many roles you play in your personal and family lives. Perhaps it will invite you to consider what feels balanced to YOU when it comes to giving and receiving.

The idea of balance is a curious one. See, we hear so often, even from ourselves, that we want or “need” to be in balance,” yet being in balance all the time would make for complacency, stagnation, and boredom. Thus, I am not proposing that you give 50% of the time and receive 50% of the time. First of all, it would be stressful and impossible to try to achieve this, and it would put the value on balance, rather than process. Moreover, we need to shift between balance and imbalance to meet each new season of our lives responsively.

 

heart-shaped mosaic with rainbow colorsMoving Forward

I share this reflection on giving and receiving with the intention that you may find new tools that help you step into deeper self-awareness. You will find out more about your personal patterns, needs, preferences, tendencies, and areas of growth, and you might even learn what your unique sense of “balance” is.

Practically speaking, you can use your awareness of giving and receiving to help you make decisions, to set intentions, to initiate self-care, and so much more. Finally, I invite you to notice how else the vocabulary of giving and receiving informs your life and process.

As you dig in to this practice, you may also find yourself (and your family teen) wanting extra support. Together, you and your family can build individual support system maps!

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