I am a giver – it’s what I do. One of my strongest values has always been generosity over greed. I gave no thought to what it means to receive - until I had to. When my son was three I was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer. Concerned about the impact that would have on him, I tracked down another young woman who had been through a breast cancer journey while raising small children.
We had only been speaking for about five minutes when she asked, “You have a hard time receiving don’t you?” I was surprised by how quickly she could tell that about me, but affirmed truthfully that she was right.
“Get over it”, she bluntly stated. “That is a luxury you can no longer afford.”
I received a lot during the year and half I was going through treatment. Friends helped me with everything from child care to housecleaning, to cooking, to transporting me to and from appointments. I learned a lot about receiving during that time: You have to be willing to be vulnerable in order to receive, and that takes strength. You bless others when you receive. It allows them to reach into the best parts of themselves and gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. Life has an extraordinary way of giving you everything you need…if you allow it.
Sometimes receiving means surrendering to what is. You have to be where you are in order to open to the many blessings life offers. Resistance to any situation becomes a block, and only adds suffering to what is already challenging.
The #holiday season provides a great opportunity to become more aware of our giving and receiving habits. What are you willing to receive?
I’m not just talking about gifts – I’m talking about the love, warmth and connection that result when we open ourselves to receiving the gifts of family, friendship and community. If you are wondering what to get that person who has everything, maybe the best gift is to give them your open heart, your willingness to receive their love and bask in the beauty of it.
Opening ourselves to others reduces spending, keeps junk out of our landfills, encourages meaningful connections, and perhaps most important of all, spreads peace and kindness through the world.