We give because we are expected to, are asked to, to assuage guilt, and yes, even to feel good about ourselves. So we can say to ourselves “What a nice person I am” – Perhaps because no one else has said it to us.
And then there is that spontaneous giving – without forethought; just done because it doesn’t occur to you not to. And that is the giving, realized after the fact, that makes you feel expansive, that gives the good feeling that suffuses you, makes you smile, even laugh out loud.
But what of receiving? Receiving makes you feel good, doesn’t it? Whether it’s a smile, or a material object. Receiving means someone saw you, figuratively and literally. Someone acknowledged your existence.
Perhaps it is just a smile, a nod, the holding of a door – the smallest simplest giving; the smallest simplest receiving.
An exchange, a connection, however brief and fleeting. Perhaps not consciously acknowledged, that connection, but still it was there and it made you feel good – to give it and receive it.
So brief and fleeting that you are not even aware that you feel better and brighter until later when you pass on the giving or the receiving in some other small way, and these exchanges soon become become self-perpetuating – the thank you, the smile, gets passed on.
The bigger givings and receivings get passed on too, one hopes. But it’s the little ones that lift us up; it’s the little ones that can make the biggest difference.