“Giving is virtuous, but so is accepting gifts gratefully.” ~Doe Zantamata
I’ve learned that how well you receive determines how happy you are.
When I was committed to loving myself more, I started to be more aware of how I treated myself. What opened up for me was that I did not know how to receive.
That was one of the things I had to learn in order to really care for myself.
Receiving Capabilities Jammed
There were times when I would squirm and be all awkward when I was given extra attention.
There would be times when I'd feel indebted when I received a big gift or if someone did me a huge favor.
I'd think, “You didn’t have to” or “This is too much” or “I feel bad that you got me this.”
Then, there were times when I'd feel like I was imposing when a person offered to do something for me, even though they were the ones who offered.
I remember when I was younger, maybe around fifteen. I went to my friend’s house to play cards. Around dinnertime, my friend’s mom invited me over for dinner. I politely turned her down, telling her I’d be going home soon anyway.
She insisted, and I insisted on refusing to accept the invitation. I appreciated her offer, but I didn’t want to impose, so I felt it was more polite to decline.
Later that night, my friend said her mom thought it was strange of me to keep turning her down. I was shocked and hurt. I didn’t accept the invitation because I didn’t want to hassle her in having to prepare for an additional dinner plate. I had no intention of offending her.
That memory stayed with me. It is only until recently that I truly understood what happened.
I denied her the chance to give. I also robbed both of us the chance to connect. I was so focused on not wanting to impose that I forgot to appreciate and just be grateful for her offer.
What Happens When Our Receiving Capacity Is Jammed
1. We cannot be emotionally healthy if we cannot accept blessings.
When we keep refusing to receive, it will leave us empty and even resentful.
2. It can be harmful to relationships.
This happens because we will not be able to recognize the complete kindness the other person has to offer.
I had a best friend before who was extremely good to me. But because my receiving capability was out of order, I couldn’t recognize all of her efforts.
She would build me up, point out my strengths. Her intention was to help me gain more confidence in myself. But because my own receiving capability was jammed, I couldn’t recognize what she was doing. And the insecure part of me even thought she just pitied me.
3. We rob the givers’ chance to experience the joy of giving.
All of us have an innate desire to make people happy, especially the people we love. By refusing to accept others’ offer, we deny them the chance to do something good for us.
4. We may become resentful.
When we keep giving and we don’t receive, we become depleted and we run the risk of being resentful towards others.
It isn’t fair to the other person especially if they wanted to give, but you refused to accept it.
Why Receiving Is Difficult (and How to Make It Easier)
1. Check what kind of judgment you have when you give.
When you give, do you expect something in return? Do you give only to the needy?
There was this test I read before. You place money on the ground, in a public place, like a park or a mall. And you hide. Then you observe your mind as you wait for someone to find the bill. You may find yourself hoping that a poor person gets it, or a kid. You may find yourself getting mad should a rich man or a drug addict pick it up.
Those are the judgments that you have when giving. And those are the very same judgments you project onto your giver when you are the recipient.
I did the test, and what went through my head was the poor should get it. The “deserving” should get the money. Or the one who “needs” it should get the money.
So when people give to me, I have a hard time accepting since I don’t “need” it or that it should go to a person who needs it more.
There will be times where I refuse it because subconsciously I didn’t want to be perceived as needy or weak.
When you let go of your judgments while giving to other people, you’ll release yourself from projecting that judgment onto the giver and you find yourself receiving more gracefully.
2. You constantly feel like you’re imposing.
You automatically think you’re a burden or others would be hassled when they do something for you.
It’s not true, though. More often than not, people want to make you happy.
3. You feel indebted all the time.
You feel like you owe the person something when you accept something from them. You feel obligated to repay them.
Being grateful and giving back is much healthier.
4. You assume they were just being nice.
You constantly doubt if they meant it because you have a story running in your head that they were just being nice.
But what I learned was, more often than that, people are really sincere. And no one is really obligated to do anything unless they really wanted to.
5. You think they have ulterior motives.
You think when a person does something extra nice to you; it’s probably because they want something in return.
6. You feel like you’re not deserving.
It isn’t humility. It’s actually denial.
The goal is to let go of any kind of judgment when you give so you free yourself from any projected judgments that are keeping you from receiving.
What really helped me was to focus on the intention and love of the giver that motivated that gift, offer, or that sincere compliment. Believing them, accepting it, and saying thank you. Being grateful for what you have received makes the giver happy because it says you appreciate the time and effort that person has given you.
We should always be focused on giving but we should also learn to accept blessings gratefully.
Once the door to receiving is open, imagine how many gifts are waiting for us.
Photo by David Robert Bilwas