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It is the season for giving. Sometimes what is lost is the simple act of receiving. So many of the people I know are generous in giving, in their time, energy, money and spirit. Where we lack is in receiving. Taking in the compliment, generous gesture, act of kindness or even a simple I am sorry. Much of the joy of giving comes from the person we are giving to being able to receive, to take in whatever it is we are giving.
The other day my nearest and dearest and I had a disagreement and he looked at me and simply said I am sorry. And I immediately said, “No problem, don’t worry” and he said, “You know what?, you are really bad at receiving” and it hit me. He’s right, I don’t receive very well. I like to DO for others, give and give. But part of the joy of relationship (whether significant or merely acquaintance) is to be able to receive.
A few months ago a friend of mine was having financial problems. I know one of her favorite things to do is to meet for a drink and catch up however, she knew she couldnt’ afford it that month so she said no. When I offered to pay, she looked at me with a stressed face and said let me think about it. Finally, she came back and said “yes, I would love to accept a drink from you, thank you”. That exchange was significant for both of us, a bonding experience if you will. By her trusting me in her vulnerability to admit, she needed help and then to take help from me was a gift for both of us.
I admit, these examples are small. There are a lot bigger examples of giving and receive then “I’m sorry” and buying someone a drink. But I believe these every day ways of giving and receiving make an impact on our world. They open our hearts and enable us to give (and receive) on a larger level.
So as we go through the holiday season, pay attention not only to how much you give but to how well you receive. Receiving with an open heart, expressing your vulnerability and sharing a simple ‘thank you’ helps everyone live happier.