Wishing to highlight today the importance–the virtue–of receiving. Not only in times of obvious weakness and need but in the daily dance of mutuality, belonging, and shared resourcefulness that our innate human interdependence requires.
Many of us were raised on a strict diet of works-based salvation (aka earned worthiness) and its correlate, the Calvinist work ethic. Adding to this was the seemingly benign declaration quoted by Paul: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Rags-to-riches stories and the mythos of the “self-made man” also bolstered our cultural conscience’s glorification of emotional and temporal independence, self-reliance, strength, and prosperity. Giving, helping, serving, succeeding–all these were lauded–whereas asking, receiving, needing, illness were tolerated (at best) or vilified (“the evil of the dole”). The sad result: self-criticism, self-hatred, self-imposed isolation, and (potentially) self-destruction in our adult years when we don’t manage to “self-make” (aka succeed financially) on our own.
I believe it is a naive –or cruel– belief system that asserts “Manage on your own” — “Overcome your weakness” — “You have only yourself to blame for your troubles” — “If only you would work harder . . .”
There are many, many contributors to a person’s seeming prosperity or poverty (emotional or financial). NO ONE is self-made. NO ONE is solely to blame. NO ONE provides for themselves all on their own. (Even their food is derived from the earth, water, and sun, NOT merely their will.)
I believe it is time to end the stigma of need and replace it with a richer awareness of our interdependence here on earth. We ALL need to belong. We ALL need emotional and/or financial assistance at one time (or many others). We ALL need guidance and mentoring. We ALL need the patience and forgiveness of others. We ALL have something to give (if not financial or physical, then emotional: companionship, stories, mentoring, cheerleading . . .). We ALL need a tribe. We ALL need a healthy earth.
“No [person] is an island” unless they de-value and desert their intrinsic need for love, belonging, and meaningful co-creation. How sad when a person’s belief that they “SHOULD” make it on their own impoverishes them spiritually–causing them to feel unknown, unsupported, and unloved–and isolates them from a supportive tribe. Time to drop the impoverished and ignorant belief in the magnanimity of self-sufficiency and invest heart and soul in the heartland, the homeland, of our common humanity.
Humans need each other!
May we be courageous in “finding our tribe” when we find ourselves lonely and asking for help when we find ourselves in need.