The Gift of Receiving
It's this time of year we are constantly thinking about giving. And while I do believe thought-filled gift giving is a wonderful exercise in appreciation, I think that fulfills the bottom 50% of the whole idea.
We need to be better receivers. We need to be better at appreciating someone thoughtfulness.
Have you ever bought someone a small gift to only hear in return "Oh, you shouldn't have! I didn't get you anything!!" and then you respond back "Oh it's just a small little thing, nothing important - really!"
Honestly, we probably hear this conservation all the time. It's this infinity loop of "keeping up with the Jones" that has turned what truly could be a wonderfully, thought filled, honourable moment, into a processed prescription to being even.
But where does the craziness start?
I think the craziness starts and ends with how we receive. Imagine that you were actually able to just receive a gift. That the gift back was your gratefulness and appreciation of your friends thoughts. That you held them in such regard, that your appreciation of them was your gift back?
I recently received a small token from a neighbour. It was a silly little lobster key chain that they bought for me while on vacation out in Cape Breton where my Grandmother lived and recently died. I was just blown away. Her reaction to my thankfulness was hilariously telling of today's gift giving culture "Sarah, it's a dollar store lobster key chain, really, it's nothing."
"I think it's amazingly thoughtful of you to think of me while you were out adventuring around the world. I am so thankful for a friend that would consider me, remember a conversation about my affinity for Cape Breton and then carry this all the way back to give to me."
She said "well, I thought of you while we were there, thinking what it would be like to miss my grandmother and wanted to bring you a little piece of that home."
I had a really hard time responding. But eventually came up with "I am just the luckiest person to know you, who while on a grand adventure with a newborn and small child, stopped to think of me. Thank you."
Of course it will be a slightly awkward conversation but it really shouldn't be. She left the conversation that day feeling honoured.
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart." Brene Brown
Practice over the holidays, forego the "back up gifts" or the dismissive words. Thank them for being a considerate, thoughtful, generous friend. Focus on them, not the parcel because our friends are the real gift.