The Season of Receiving

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Someone somewhere told us a big fat lie….that it’s better to give than to receive!  I doubt many children would agree with that and they would be right.  It is far better to receive but we seem to have a skewed view of this end of the ‘giving-receiving’ process.

Growing up we were told it is better to give….”the joy is in the giving”.  I presume this was based around some underlying fear that if we didn’t focus on giving we would become greedy and selfish and just want, want, want.  So better to give!  Yes, it is true, there is a warm glowing, feel good factor when we give to others.  But that feeling can be diminished if the person receiving does not know how to receive properly.

At this time of year, we are consumed about what gift to buy the people in our lives.  We get stressed out thinking:

Will they like it?

Will it suit them?

Is it enough?

Should I spend more?

What will they think of me?   (maybe not consciously aware of this thought but it’s there!).

But how do we receive the gifts that are given to us?  Ask yourself what you are like as a receiver.  How many times have you ushered the words “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “There was no need” or “It’s far too much, I don’t need anything”?  We unintentionally imply that we don’t deserve or perhaps don’t even want the gift!   Does this make the giver feel good?  I don’t think so.

Some people describe themselves as natural gives, being more comfortable in the ‘giving’ space than the receiving.  But it is just as important to be able to receive.  It is in the act of receiving that we give back to the giver.  If we are unable to receive graciously, genuinely and without guilt, we deny the giver that feel-good factor that is the reason for giving in the first place!

Our ability or inability to receive is also seen in other areas of our lives.   Are we able to ask for help, support and advice when we need it?  Are we comfortable accepting compliments without diluting their impact with statements such as “oh this old thing?” or “thanks but I didn’t do much” or using other statements that minimises in some way the compliment offered.  Wouldn’t it be much better to simply say “thank you, that is really kind of you” or “thank you, I love wearing this dress” etc.

So instead of focusing on giving this year, why not put your attention on the Art of Receiving? Accept gifts with a genuine, gracious and heartfelt thank you.  Accept compliments with ease and a smile.  Ask for and accept all offers of help.  Receive with ease and enjoy the season of giving and receiving!

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