I just received a gift!
*cue cheering, jubilation, happiness, a grateful call of thanks to the giver, and a big big smile on my face!*
I wish. I wish it were that easy for me. Why is that?
Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed having received a gift, from this person especially, and, believe me, it’s a really nice gift.
But alongside these happy feelings are confusion, doubt, and insecurity.
“What did I do to deserve this? Do I deserve such a thing? What do I need to do or to give to be able to give back? Does this mean something about what the other person expects from me?”
I’m such a horrible gift receiver. I actually contemplated sending it back with a note. A note that might be read : “Thank you so much for your gift, I appreciate the gift and gesture so much, but I feel I am not worthy of it, and have not done enough to deserve such a token.”
And yes, believe it or not, there are people out there like me. People who suck at receiving (and sometimes giving!) gifts. This is for you. This is for all of us.
Digging deeper, I realize these feelings are coming from a belief that I am not worthy. That we believe we are not deserving of such praise and appreciation. That we are not thankful for our own efforts and being. It can also be that we see the gift as a payment of sorts, and not a token of the giver’s gratitude and appreciation towards us. We feel pressured to reciprocate, to give back, to match up to the gift and its weight of unsaid and / or imagined expectations.
But you know what? There are times when you don’t need to do, you just need to be.
Gift-giving is essentially an act of love. Of showing love and appreciation to the other person. We don’t need to do anything to deserve love, we just need to be, accept, and be thankful. You don’t need to work hard for love, or buy love, contrary to what the world is telling us today.
It takes tremendous humility to accept gifts wholeheartedly, being fully present and with complete gratitude.
It takes tremendous humility to allow and give space for the gift giver to give! They are expressing their gratitude and appreciation for you, and celebrating the relationship they have with you, no matter how small. Would you trample on their earnest feelings and effort?
I remember the latest time I felt complete and utter generosity – when I treated drinks and snacks for a group of friends I haven’t seen in almost a year. There was no rationalization, no pressure, no guilty feelings, just the feeling that I wanted to give these guys a great time, and to show my appreciation and gratitude for the friendship that we have. I never parted with money so quickly, and it felt good! I was so happy to be together with these guys.
Would you the deprive the giver of the pleasure and enjoyment of giving you a gift, and to show their appreciation and love for you?
It is commonly said that it is better to give than to receive. In many ways, that is still true, and what is left unsaid is that it can be harder to receive than to give.
Our attitude when receiving is a mirror of our attitude when giving. Do we give to express gratitude and appreciation? As a mere formality and because it’s required by tradition or custom? As a way to curry favor and put pressure to get something in return?
The act of receiving is a gift to the giver.