The Gift Of Receiving


How & why graciously receiving gifts and acts of kindness from others is a priceless gift to them.


The joy of giving and the importance of being generous and thoughtful to others is an important and well-promoted concept. It’s hard to top the pleasure that comes from giving someone a much desired or needed gift. In fact, many of us have mastered the art of giving to others and are more recently learning how to give to ourselves. Giving and receiving have been positioned as opposites, with one better than the other, but I see it differently. The purpose of this article is to point out how our ability to receive from others is as valuable and thoughtful as our ability to give to others. [EXPERT]

Have you ever thought about why it feels so good to give and to do for others? But what about the times when giving doesn’t feel very good? Like when we give someone a gift we think they’ll will love, but when they open it, they begrudgingly say “oh that” or half-heartedly say, “gee thanks” making it clear that they’re not pleased. Or, how about when we excitedly give someone a present and they say, “Oh you shouldn’t have!” or “I can’t accept this”? In these cases, a gift is given but because the recipient is not happy and/or willing to receive the gift, the joy of giving is somehow diminished. [EXPERT]


Think about it. The pleasure of giving is very often affected by the recipients’ ability to receive. With this in mind, we can see that when we enthusiastically and authentically receive something from another, we have the ability to make it a joyful or a disappointing experience for the giver. [EXPERT]

Receiving something graciously makes the Giver feel good.

When we graciously receive something from someone, we’re giving that person the opportunity to truly express themselves. By honoring an act of giving with our acceptance, our time and our attention, we’re acknowledging the gift-giver’s value, uniqueness and creativity. We’re expressing, with our actions and words, “I see you. You matter to me.” Whether we’re briefly thanking a stranger or a friend for an act of unnecessary or unexpected kindness, stopping in the middle of whatever we’re doing to watch a child proudly present us with a new picture or looking up to listen intently as our loved one shares a story with us, that moment of eyeball-to-eyeball connection can have priceless value. [EXPERT]

Think about this…every single time someone does anything nice for us, we have the chance to return the favor in an immediate and positive way. Being the recipient of a compliment, a kind act or gift no longer needs to feel like a one-way gesture but now becomes a balanced, two-way exchange, enjoyable and energizing for both parties. With this new awareness, we can consciously turn receiving into an act of giving and then both people will experience all the benefits already associated with the exchange. What a wonderful cycle to perpetuate! With all the good that can come from being a good receiver, why don’t we do it better or more enthusiastically? [EXPERT]


7 reasons why it can be tough to receive:

  1. We’re taught, “It’s better to give than to receive.” This phrase gives us the impression that receiving is somehow selfish and not a “good” thing.
  2. If we’re shy, we may feel embarrassed when someone gives us something so in an attempt to get past our discomfort we may change the subject or move on quickly which short-circuits the time we could spend graciously receiving the gift.
  3. Receiving from others can make us feel that now we “owe” the one who just gave us something. Whether that’s the intention of the giver or not, it can interfere with our ability to receive.
  4. If someone gives us something and we have nothing for them in return (and believe we should), we may feel guilty. Guilt can really mess up the receiving process.
  5. Receiving can carry the connotation of neediness and/or weakness and that may trigger our pride which makes receiving from others feel like we’ve failed in some way.
  6. It takes effort, energy and attention to be a good receiver and as we get busy and/or overwhelmed, opportunities to receive can get overlooked or ignored.
  7. Receiving graciously is a skill and a social grace that may be unrecognized, unfamiliar and/or never learned and therefore uncomfortable for many of us. [EXPERT]


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