The gift of receiving

Receiving is a gift. It is also an art. Unfortunately many people (especially women) have forgotten how to receive. We have been so conditioned to be independent, strong and careful that we just say a big fat NO when people want to offer us gifts of help, compliments, dinner, support, love – pretty much any sort of gift.  This hurts the giver as they can often feel rejected, unwanted, un-necessary or unvalued, when they get the big fat NO. (By the way, I am also afflicted by this condition and have been practicing receiving for a while now, not always successfully). We have been taught that a persons worth is defined by their productivity, their ability to make things happen and manage and control situations and things. We are so hell bent on showing the world how tough we are, how we don’t need anyone else, we can do it all alone and have time for a pedicure & Champagne, or we worry that we don’t deserve it or even worse – wonder “what are they gonna want in return?”. Women especially have been so concerned with trying to succeed in a man’s world that the simple art and act of receiving has gone out of the window.

Recently, I complimented a dear friend on her scarf and she just brushed it off and told me it was a cheap thing she had picked up for a tenner in some supermarket. This got me thinking (and sharing my thoughts with her incidentally) – if a person can’t/won’t receive a no strings attached compliment from a dear friend, how are they ever going to receive anything else? From my own experience, I often rejected offers of help at work and then wondered why I was so overwhelmed. I also know ladies who insist on going Dutch even when their date/partner really wants to treat them, which deflates the wannabe giver and hurts their feelings too.

Think about it – doesn’t it feel great to help some one out? Don’t you love it when someone likes something you’ve given them and really shows their appreciation? I know I do – it’s the best feeling in the world! A friend’s son recently had his 8th birthday party and as he is into Tennis I hunted around for a good book on Tennis (which is harder than you’d think in Delhi). He especially texted me to thank me and was thrilled! I was even more thrilled that he liked it and felt the warm and fuzzy feeling of self-approbation all day.

Giving feels amazing – it feels so good to know you’ve made someone’s day or made them smile or feel good about themselves with a simple compliment or a small gift of something that they like and appreciate. I really feel that the gift-giver receives as much benefit from the gift as the recipient. So why deprive another of the joy of giving? Why not receive their gift, whatever it is with a smile and a thank you?

Also consider, if someone rejected one of your gifts because – they can buy it themselves, or don’t deserve it – how would you feel? Would you want to give them a gift again? I wouldn’t!!! And ladies, decent men love to give gifts of help, compliments and even dinners without expecting a payback. It makes them feel good, valued and needed.

So how can you learn to receive? Here are some simple practices you can adopt to grow your receptivity muscle.

  1. Set an intention of open-ness and receptivity: For one week, start every morning with an intention to receive. You could say something like “I am open to receiving all the gifts that life brings me today with grace”. Watch what happens and how people react. (You can do this every day for ever if you want)
  2. For one day, every time someone offers you a compliment just smile and say thank you. That’s all– not “right back at you”, or “you’re looking great too” or “its just an old thing” or “its nothing…” Just a smile & thank you. (Fullstop).
  3. Compliment your friends and colleagues (sincerely) and notice how they respond and how you respond to what they do. How do you feel when they receive your compliment graciously? How do you feel when they brush it aside or deem themselves unworthy of it?
  4. For the next 5 times someone offers you help of any sort – TAKE IT! It could be someone offering to carry your bags at the airport, or give you a ride, or help with chores – anything. Just accept the offer with a smile and a thank you.
  5. Observe someone in your circle of friends or acquaintances who is gracious and charming – odds are they know the art of receiving. What can you learn from them?

Let me know how you get on and happy receiving!

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4 Responses to The gift of receiving
  1. Isabel Prieto
    January 25, 2012 | 10:39 am

    HI Piya, as always, I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing this article, it’s so true. I’ll be more mindful about receiving from now on. My best wishes for 2012! Isabel

  2. Arantxa
    January 25, 2012 | 12:15 pm

    Piya, big fat THANK YOU for this wonderful reflection, a real gift.

  3. Anamika
    January 25, 2012 | 1:35 pm

    Hi Piya,

    I came across this article accidently but on a very appropriate time. Now I know what to do. Just smiling and accepting makes it so much easier and also makes everybody happy. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Anj
    January 26, 2012 | 11:49 am

    How true this is. X

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