yin and yang: receiving and giving

The Chinese philosophy of yin and yang goes through all aspects of our lives, including the emtional.

Yin is receptive and inward, yang is outward and giving.  The application to our emotional life is fairly direct I think.

In our society which emphasises yang we are encouraged to be self-sufficient, which is essential.  But too much of this and we become hard and unyielding, arrogant and unable to listen or learn.  The temptation is to advocate for the other extreme (yin) – open to everything, retiring into ourselves, accepting whatever is done to us; leading to lethargy, lack of concern and an unwillingness to change life threatening situations.

Reflecting on yin and yang in our emotional lives.

  • Which are the relationships that nurture and sustain you?  Who do you receive from?  Which situations make this easier?
  • In which relationships do you give and sustain others?  Who do you give to?  Which situation make this easier?

For health to be maintained we need a balance and flow of yin and yang.

Does your receiving and giving have a flow and balance?
Do you think that you prefer one to the other?
If there is an imbalance what can you do to restore the equilibrium?

To change our patterns will take some initiative.  You may find that it is surprisingly difficult.  However it is possible to take small steps.  And with a little work we can usually find small steps that feel good to take (as long as we don’t get impatient).

If we balance the yin and yang of our emotional life we will certainly feel much better for it.

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