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To Give and Receive

By Carolyn Kalil

Are you comfortable receiving compliments? Do you squirm or feel obligated to return the compliment? Do you easily and effortlessly give compliments? Or is it difficult for you to give them? Maybe you never think to give them or you're not in the habit of giving them?

In essence, giving and receiving are the same. You can't do one without the other. It doesn't seem to matter what the medium is. It can be giving money to charity, buying Boy Scout raffle tickets, or donating your time to your local non-profit group. In the case of compliments, it's just love and human compassion. I'll focus mostly on compliments in this article because they don't require material wealth and everyone can give them. In the bigger picture, we can all share our talents, our gifts that we brought to this world. Doing the work you love is a giving of your gifts and sets you up for receiving, either in the form of money or appreciation, gratitude or love.

In True Colors terms you might think that only Blues are good at giving compliments. They are always the ones to tell you how good you look, how they like your outfit, or the way your smile brightens your face. The Blues are the heartfelt and compassionate group that wear their heart on their sleeve. When Golds receive a compliment, they feel obligated to return one. Oranges will acknowledge a compliment and feel good from it. Greens are either embarrassed by them or ignore them.

First, when you don't acknowledge the compliment you are preventing the giver from giving. The gift wasn't received. The giver already knows at a deep level that the more he or she gives, the more they will receive. For the giver this is called selfless giving. You give freely because you want to and you expect nothing in return. The Universe keeps score, like an energy balance, or the first law of thermodynamics - "Energy is neither created or destroyed." When the time is right, you get to receive. You just don't get to pick what, when and how this will happen, but it always happens and it's always good.

Give it a try. Give away compliments for a week. They don't have to be fancy or special just...
"You look great today!"
"I like your hair"
"You have beautiful eyes"
"What a lovely shirt"

If the receiver wants to reciprocate, try gently putting your hand up as to say, "it's OK the only reply I'm expecting is 'thank you very much'." It may take a while to "train" yourself and the receivers.

How do you feel when the receiver tries to compliment you back? Do you feel cheated, like your compliment didn't mean anything, or it just wasn't received. Your intent was selfless giving. How can you receive if you can't give.

Sales people know if they give you a little gift you will feel obligated to reciprocate and give in the form of buying. They give you a $1 bottle of water and you buy a $20,000 car.

The universal law doesn't care about the equality of the media.

We all need to share our talents, our gifts that we brought to this world. When we give freely of our gifts, we feel wonderful, we feel on purpose, and we are assured of receiving. Doing the work you love sets you up for receiving, either in the form of money or appreciation, gratitude or love, or all of these. No good deed is ever left unrewarded. So the simple lesson that giving and receiving are the same, turns out to be very powerful.

Carolyn Kalil, MA, is author of the popular book "Follow Your True Colors To The Work You Love" plus two career workbooks. She has been a career counselor for 30 years. Take her free personality quiz to discover your own True Colors.

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