Having It Both Ways

Today, let’s look at the art of accepting things from others. Everyone knows that it feels great to give, and most of us have learned that it’s better to give than to receive. But there is a blessing to being able to receive gracefully, and that is what we want to look at today.

How does it feel to give a gift that is virtually ignored or, worse, received badly? Pretty awful, right? Children, especially, labor long and with great love to make special presents for their families. It can be crushing to see their best handiwork ignored or passed off with a comment like, “What’s this supposed to be?”

This becomes a memory that lasts forever, one that can be re-remembered again and again. And neuroscientists today tell us that each time we bring up a memory, there is a good chance we change it, and amplify it, so that the next time we remember it, those feelings of hurt are even stronger.

Some folks have trouble telling the white lies that sometimes seem necessary, in order to spare another’s feelings. However, it’s never necessary to lie. You don’t have to say, “This is just what I’ve always wanted,” if it’s not true. But you can usually find something to compliment and you can certainly acknowledge, with pleasure, the thoughtfulness and effort the giver has shown without worrying about stretching the truth.

You see, when you receive a gift graciously and with genuine gratitude, you are also giving something very precious at the same time you receive. As the saying goes, “It is a blessing to give and to receive.” And, it is one of those rare occasions when you can have it both ways.