Giving and Receiving in Relationships

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys

Between Finite Persons

When we think in terms of the manifest(physical) level of our being and our existence, we often think in terms of limitation. We think that as human beings we have a limited amount of energy, love, or caring, and that if we give some of it to others we have less for ourselves, or that if we give a great deal to one person we have less for everyone else. This is based on the sense of limitation, that there is a finite supply, for us or for a couple or group of people.

In this world of finite people we get into competition very easily. If it is a finite sum game, only so much to go around, then for us to get “ours”, we need to find others to get it from. Many people learn to take from others, either aggressively, or passively. The versions of this sort of relationship are only limited by our creative ability as spirits. We use anger, fear, pity, claims of love, and more to get what we feel we need.

Other people fall into patterns where they give away energy all the time, playing the other side of the game. This may be due to pictures about their lack of power or worth, coupled with the belief that if they give energy, time, care etc. they may get some love or recognition in return. Or perhaps pictures that say sacrifice and service are good, even if we exhaust ourselves. Which ever side we partake of, the dynamics are based on a sense of our own limitation.

Most of us have forgotten how to love ourselves, or to experience the love that God has for us all. We do not remember how to tap into the infinite sources that are part of who we are as spiritual beings, or tap into the Source of us all. We believe that even when we are fortunate enough to be “in love” that this is something that someone else gives to us, that we have to go and find, earn, take, etc. And thus we play various games of giving and receiving.

Between Male and Female

Even in “good” relationships, in which the giving and receiving is roughly balanced, the concept that things are limited is often still there. The traditional relationship picture says that men and women are each limited and incomplete, so they need to pair up to make a whole. The most common arrangement is for the man to handle the survival issues, be the “bread winner”, while the woman handles all the emotions.

As with any partnership where responsibilities are shared, this arrangement may work well, if the roles given to the partners suit them as people, and if they are both comfortable with the division of labor. When there are disagreements, perceived or actual imbalances, or fears arising from the limitation view that lead to efforts at control then the relationship can become a battle ground, with all of the power and competition games that we know how to play. It is somewhat ironic, that while we pair up to “complement each other”, due to awareness of our province more than the other we may miss what we are receiving. The man may provide materially, while the woman gives on an emotional level. They are both giving, but may miss what they are receiving and feel that they are the only one giving and blame their partner.

As spiritual beings we are each capable of all human expression, all the energies that are considered both male and female. This does not mean that there is not variation or “personality” on a soul level, and even more so for a given incarnation. What it does mean is that we are not as limited as we often believe. We are all capable of handling any and all aspects of our own lives. It also suggests that it is perfectly possible and frequently happens that people wind up with energies (i.e. characters and interests) that don’t “match” the sex of their body.

While some of us may feel (as incarnate personalities) that we can’t or don’t want to handle certain aspects of our lives, we are giving away parts of ourselves, of our spiritual birthright. At some level we are likely to resent being out of control, or worse having someone else in control of even parts of our lives. This can also lead to explicit or implicit conflict.

If the man is responsible for work and survival, the woman standing behind him may actually control his space and push him into things as she sees fit. Likewise if the man has a lot of pain or anger, it may get dumped into the woman’s space, or he may resist the way in which she runs the emotional space. It may be tempting to say that the traditional roles are at fault: trying to fit everyone into a single picture and define their roles based on sex, rather than character or personal ability or interest, which in practice vary widely in both sexes; but it is the limited picture of ourselves that is more pernicious.

The concept of limitation leads us to feel we have to have someone else to love us or to make us complete. It tends to place us in competitive or controlling space in our relationships, so that we try to get more than we give. Finally it has led to social views about sexual roles that can lead to trying to fit into a role that does not reflect who we are as spiritual beings.

In practice, even in past generations, there have been a great number of “solutions” to the general question of how we work our partnerships and other committed relationships. Many of them have worked reasonably, or even quite, well. But they were still mostly based on the conception of two finite beings who get together and combine their energies to create a single “larger” being. When two people fall in love they jump into each other’s space, trade energies on various levels, including the heart space and often get so tangled up that they lose track of themselves. Over time they start to draw back a bit and disentangle, trying to find some of their own space again. This is crunch time. With a continued limitation view, we become aware of all the lacks, the conflicts, the compromises, and mismatches. Things become confused and messy, and people drift apart, fight, or give up.

In other cases, however, by holding a less limited view of human beings and what a relationship is, those that are successful became friends and often have long and happy relationships.

Between Unlimited, Complete, Beings

A great many things change if we shift gears and look at a relationship between two people as an interaction between spiritual beings who have (at least potentially) the ability to manifest the whole range of “male” and “female” energies and abilities. Moreover they each have the ability to connect to Spirit or God internally and in that way come to love themselves, and be loved by Spirit. This gives them access to an unlimited supply of love and energy. Finally if we are all of God, a part of spirit, then we can shift from giving and receiving from each other, to giving and receiving to/from God or Spirit.

On all counts we no longer need to keep score. Those who are connected to Spirit, who know how to be “in love”, with or without a partner, can give to others a great deal, because they are not giving from their physical being, but from their spiritual essence. This essence, being internal and of God is infinite, so that in spirit the more we give the more we receive, energy and love flow through us and out to others. These souls, having their own internal source of love and energy, don’t need to get anything from outside, to compete or control others.

This gives rise to a different type of relationship, in which each person, being whole in and of themselves, can own and maintain their own energetic space, from which they can share and play with others. Relationships are then a mutual creation, a third energy space, separate from either individual. Even in a partnership, the individuals can, over time, give more or less, and draw more or less, as situations change, and even renegotiate the nature and contents of the relationship.

Even if we are infinite spirits, we are living in a finite world, and while we may not “need” others to make us “complete” we probably don’t have the time-space resources, or the inclination to do everything. We still have personalities, preferences, favored abilities or spheres of activity, physically, emotionally, or mentally. Not everyone will be expressing everything at once in a given body. There is still, therefore, great scope for, and pleasure in, sharing with each other, complimenting each other, helping each other to grow, heal, or just get through the day.

Issues of possession or control naturally do not arise in this type of relationship. Two spiritual beings cannot possess each other, they are two parts of the same whole. They know that on the other hand they can never be really separated, even if they are physically apart. They are each responsible for themselves, even though they may agree to help each other out, or make a suitable “division of labor”, because it is practical, or follows their interests, not because they have to. It is most certainly a relationship of “equals”, even if one is in a wheelchair and the other is an Olympic champion. They are both God’s children and equally a part of the great Spirit that includes us all. They live in a world in which giving and receiving is always between us and God, either internaly or externally, rather than a bartering for survival, it is a continuous flow of love and energy that gives life to all.

(© 8/2002)

This entry was posted in Articles, Relationships, top5. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *