What Type of Gift Giver Are You?
With Christmas now behind us it’s tempting to think that the practice of giving and receiving gifts is all over – but that’s only if you think in terms of material objects that matter once or twice a year. Understanding the type of giver you are can lead to a better understanding of who you are and how you can contribute to the world. Remember gifts don’t always have to be of monetary value.
There are three types of people in this world: Takers, Matches, and Givers. But what’s the difference between them and what type are you? Takers are the sort of people who accept gifts and invitations willingly without any thought of returning the favor. Matchers will only think about returning the favor for fear of offending, and then there’s Givers – they five and receive freely.
In relation to gift-giving you will likely fall into one of these three categories. You might know intrinsically what type of giver you are, but if you don’t there’s a good way to find out. The next time you have a gift delivered to someone, notice how you feel and whether you expect something in return. You will need to be honest with yourself, even if you say something to the contrary. This data can be a useful starting point for change.
Most people discover they are a Taker or a Matcher. This makes up a large section of the population and is tied in some ways to our evolutionary heritage. Givers, on the other hand, are much rarer, they operate on a different set of rules that might seem a little alien at first. If you practice giving and receiving you will eventually find the attitude of a Giver.
Givers understand that giving is its own reward and that the compensation is not always material, in fact, it rarely is. To practice giving, think of all the ways you can give in non-material ways. You could give the gift of a complement, or the gift of your time, you might give someone some kindness, or a thank you. These can be practiced daily.
Giving is not the only thing that must be practiced while learning how to gift more generously. Receiving is also a factor. The human animal is hardwired to instinctively build group bonds with other humans. Part of the way we do this is through giving and receiving things. If you don’t return a favor it could indicate some negative feeling that could affect the relationship.
You can train yourself to receive gifts unconditionally by appreciating the gifts bestowed on you from higher places: the sunlight, the air, the green trees, the fresh air. All of these things are free gifts and vital to our survival. This is an excellent practice in appreciation but if done unskillfully could lead to becoming a Taker. Remember that not everyone in the same place and may expect e response.
Giving and Receiving
As mentioned above giving and receiving are encoded into or genes from the earliest humans, and probably before that too. It’s not surprising then that we find evidence of these practices in our ancient texts and throughout our culture. But giving and receiving is not only biological and cultural, it’s also spiritual. There is a universal principle at work that seems to grant us a good favor for selfless efforts.
Giving the gift of joy causes joy to come your way, giving attention to someone means they pay attention to you, and appreciating nature makes you happier and more fulfilled. The spiritual desire of giving is what the Giver sees and understands when they make an extra effort to help you out without any thought of reward. These are acts or pure giving, beyond the concept of generosity.
It’s up to you
If you want to become an unconditional giver and receive the bounty of the universe you need to practice your giving and receiving in a less spectacular way. Nonetheless it has it’s benefits and advantages. Try giving gifts on a daily basis. It could be in the form of a complement, some time, or even a material object, the important point is to notice how you feel about the action.
If you are giving a material gift without thought of a reward remember that other people may not be practicing the same thing and might fall into the category of Matcher. If so, receive their gift graciously – this too is a practice. Try to give something away every day, ask yourself what you have of value that you could give away generously to benefit someone else and the world.