Does the following scenario between two good friends sound familiar?
My friend: “This was such a wonderful lunch! I’m glad we were able enjoy lunch together.”
Me: “You’re right. I’m having such a great time.”
(Then, the server drops check off at the table.)
My friend: “I’m picking the tab today.”
Me: “Oh no! I can’t let you do that. Let me.”
My sweet friend: “No, I want to do this.”
Me: “Absolutely, not! I can’t let you. Let’s split the check. I ate more than you did.”
My friend: “Seriously, Barb. Are we going to have this argument AGAIN…”
My friend, Jera and I have this discussion EVERY SINGLE TIME we go out to lunch. Why don’t you guys just ask for separate checks?! We never do separate checks because each of us always wants to do something nice for the other. The only problem is, we struggle to actually let the other person do something nice for us.
So, I’ve come to an unpleasant truth about myself. Sometimes, I can be a bad gift-receiver.
What’s so hard about just saying “thank you” when someone offers to do something nice or gives you a compliment? Why do we fight off another’s kindness or generosity?
Here’s the ugly truth about me in those moments: I’m often reacting out of pride and guilt. It’s pride because I’m trying to manage my self-image and not feel like someone’s charity case. It’s also prideful to think that I have the power to stop someone from doing something he or she really wants to do. There’s probably some guilt in there, too. I don’t want someone to do something for me that they could be doing for someone else, so I try to stop them. Oh, wait…that’s still pride.
Used any of these following lines lately?
“No, it’s okay. I’ve got the money to pay for this.”
“You don’t have to do that. I can fix it myself.”
“Oh, you don’t want to give that to me. I’m sure someone else could use it…”
Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone after you’ve rejected his or her goodwill or generosity? If we know how great it feels to do something special for someone else, then why are we depriving others of that great feeling? Being a great gift-receiver allows us to bless someone who wants to experience the joy of giving.
How do we re-frame our attitude toward receiving? Here’s what I’m trying to remember as we head into the gift giving AND gift RECEIVING season:
1. Remember, most people give without expecting anything in return. Yes, we all know folks who give with strings attached. If you know who those people are, then be careful. But, if you’ve got wonderful folks in your life who want to show no-strings-attached-kindness, allow them to do so and just say “thank you.” Don’t hassle them.
2. Receiving from others teaches us humility. When we allow others to do things for us that we could do for ourselves, it helps us to be humble. Humility connects us together and keeps us from thinking ourselves better or worse than anyone else. (I love the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet! Check out John 13.)
3. Learning to receive helps us to experience more joy in giving! When we remember how great it feels to receive, that often motivates us to want to give more. Bottom line, if you want to find more joy in giving, remind yourself of how blessed you are by what you’ve already received!
Challenge yourself…So, the next time a friend offers to show you kindness with no strings attached, don’t fidget, qualify, or justify, just say “thanks!” and allow them to bless you.
Talk back time…Where do you struggle to graciously say “thank you”? Feel free to leave a comment on this post thread.