Stephanie Pearce: Gracious receiving

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Stephanie Pearce

— I grew up learning it’s better to give than to receive. We all are programmed to give, give, give. But I’ve learned a valuable lesson the past few months. Sometimes you need to be a gracious receiver.

When you are raised to be strong, to be the giver, do all you can to help others, it’s kind of hard to get in the mind set to accept help or gifts from others. But, what is the best part of giving? It’s knowing that you helped someone or made someone a little happier by your gift. So when you give, most likely you’re expecting a certain reaction from the receiver.

There are certain times it’s really easy to be a gracious receiver. There was a summer day almost 20 years ago when a brown-eyed 2-year-old boy walked up to me dressed in Wranglers and cowboy boots, all dirty with a huge smile and holding a bouquet of “flowers.” His smile melted my heart, and he was so proud of his gift that I didn’t have the heart to tell him he just gave me a handful of weeds. Instead, I gave him a big hug and a kiss, and I stuck those weeds in a vase to admire. I never will forget the look of achievement on his face as he walked away knowing how happy he made me. That is being a gracious receiver.

Why can’t we be that way with other people? Why is it so hard for us to accept gifts of love and help from our peers? We usually think there is an ulterior motive behind the giving. Either that or we are afraid that if we aren’t humble in our receiving, the giver will think we are taking advantage of their giving. But what if we look at it differently? What if we look at it like we did at that 2-year-old boy? What if when someone gives us something, we remember what it feels like to be the giver and the response we would want to see?

You never would look at that little boy and tell him you don’t want his gift. You never would tell him, “Your gift was just weeds and I don’t need weeds in my house, but thanks for thinking of me.” You never would just ignore the effort he made. You never would make him feel bad for trying to please you or make you happy. So, why do we do that to one another as adults?

It’s OK to accept a gift. Remember, it is better to give than to receive because of the joy you get from giving. In order to get joy from giving, you have to know that the person you gave to accepted your gift with gratitude. So, when you’re receiving a gift, remember that the way in which you receive this gift can bless the giver as much as the gift itself is blessing you.

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