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Articles    H4'ed 11/26/09

The Gift of Receiving--A Pre-Season Guide To Staying Stress Free

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it helps keep us aware of our place in the Divine scheme and cognizant of the fact that we can have a positive impact on the lives of others;

it keeps us grateful - if we have enough to give, then we're not so bad off;

it sanctifies our lives;

it reinforces compassion and love where it did exist and makes room for it grow where it didn't exist before.

According to those same social psychologists and behaviorists, giving is not just an effect of an internal emotional or cognitive process. It is a cause. By givingóby acting as ifówe create a feedback loop that creates an emotional or cognitive matrix. Daryl Bern, Ph.D. explains that we deduce our attitudes from our behaviors, which is why so many rehabilitation programs use slogans such as: Move a MuscleóChange A Thought or Act As If. If you act as if you care long enough and consistently enough, you begin to believe it. If you act like a sober adult, soon enough you begin to feel like one.

The danger is when we are so intent on giving that we forget to let others give to us. We're so busy being the givers, we leave them no opportunity. According to Ellen J. Langler, "the person who attends to a"suitor's every need and asks for nothing in return may come to care more and more for that person. But that person [the giver] may be cared for less and less in return because the suitor is not being given the same chance to feel effective. We mistakenly think we will lose a partner's affection by burdening him or her with our requests for favors or acceptance of gifts. Attending to someone else's needs leads to affection for that person. Discouraging a desired potential suitor from giving, then, is clearly the wrong strategy for fostering affection." If giving is the glue of the relationship, then receiving is the vise that lets the glue take hold.

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Judith Acosta, LISW, CHT is a licensed psychotherapist and clinical homeopath in private practice in Placitas and Albuquerque. Her areas of specialization include the treatment of anxiety, depression, and trauma. She has appeared on both television (more...)
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