How Are You at Receiving?


You may be hard-wired as a natural giver; a parent, teacher, medical professional or service-oriented person.  As such you may also be a person who can dish it out but can’t take it.


When a young child draws a picture with crayons and proudly hands it to Mom, Mom might typically respond with, “Oh how, pretty! Is that for me? Thank you!”


It’s a tribute to Mom that she receives the child’s valueless drawing with sincere appreciation and pleasure. Mom doesn’t respond with, “Oh no thank you, really I couldn’t.”


As adults, we easily forget the healing power of gratefully receiving a gesture of giving from another.


It’s the holidays, a time where we are hyper-aware of often obligatory giving and many of us are not so well-trained for receiving.


The giving doesn’t have to look like a physical present, it could be something as simple as a family member handing you a glass of water. Instead of “No thanks,” stop and pay attention to the giver for a moment. Can you notice and take in, their loving gesture through offering a glass of water?


Many of us are vigilantly hard-wired to notice rejection. “Oh, you got up to get water, you could have brought me a glass of water too. “But we’re not hard-wired to notice gestures where someone may be trying to give us something that we reject. “Would you like me to help you with dinner tonight?” “No, I can get it done faster if I do it myself.” Whatever our reasons for saying “no” to an offer, pain comes to the giver when we don’t recognize or acknowledge the sincerity of their outreach.


Most often “giving” is a vehicle for connection. We want to feel close to another so we offer an object or gesture in effort to feel close. When the intended receiver dismisses the offer, the giver often feels rejected. If the offer is something you genuinely don’t want, “Would you like a glass of wine?” “No thank you, I decided not to drink this holiday.” As well as just stating your choice, try acknowledging the desire for connection with the person who made the offer. “Thank you for offering. Would you like to sit down together for a few minutes and catch up?”


We all want unconditional love, nurturance and support from our family and friends, especially during the holidays. As we move through the holidays, often expectations are high and disappointments are fervent. Focus on receiving what is offered rather than what isn’t. Take it in and know that the true spirit of the holidays is just that, “spirit.” Don’t forget to receive from the most abundant spiritual Giver of all. You won’t be disappointed.


Photo credit:

Laura Fine

Happy holidays!

With love and blessings,