Our Openness to Receiving

If life were a college curriculum, you would probably earn an A+ in the course called “Giving to Others.” You willingly and generously share your love, time, and energy with family, friends, colleagues, and others. It’s a wonderful thing to do, and surely they are all very grateful.

For many, the last six weeks of the year are hectic, a mix of joy, pressure, delights, deadlines and wondering where the year has gone. It is not generally a time during which you focus on receiving – gratefully and graciously accepting the help, praise, advice, compliments and all of the various expressions of people’s gratitude, love and affection for YOU. In fact, receiving takes practice.

Last week I was talking with a dear friend (let’s call her Anna) and had the opportunity to tell her that she had done a terrific job handling a big challenge she had been facing over the past few months. Anna knows me well, and she knew that my comments were genuine. Still, her first reaction was to downplay her accomplishment – “It really isn’t a big deal.” When I listed all the reasons why what she had done WAS a big deal, Anna had a counterpoint for each one.

“Do you see what you are doing?” I asked. “Why are you finding it so difficult to accept this well-earned praise?” For a moment Anna looked confused, as if she didn’t understand the question. Then she laughed and said, “I don’t know.” I waited. She did know. After a few minutes of shared silence, I asked, “Is it possible that you don’t feel that you deserve the praise? Or maybe you think you could have done an even better job handling this? Or, and I ask this with the most loving intention, you are simply unwilling to acknowledge how amazing you are?”

Without hesitation, Anna replied, “All of the above.”

Would your answer have been different from Anna’s? Are you willing to acknowledge how amazing you are? My hope for each of you in this season of giving thanks, is that when people reach out to let you know how much you mean to them, to praise you for one of your many qualities and talents, you pause, smile and gratefully receive. Commit to silencing (or ignoring) your inner critic, to spontaneously thanking those who offer their expressions of gratitude, love and affection, and to drinking it all in. YOU DESERVE IT!


14 Responses to Our Openness to Receiving

  1. RAMONA November 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    BIG HUGS ….

    • sharon November 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Oh, Ramona, thank YOU! It is wonderful to hear from you and to be together in, as you so beautifully said, “this circle of people that are trying to create an environment that makes each person feel better.” Love that thought, and love you.

      Sending a big Thanksgiving hug!


  2. Mala November 20, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    This is a great reminder. Thanks so much Sharon, it’s always great to hear from you.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    • sharon November 20, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      It’s always great to hear from you, too, Mala. Sending love and a big Thanksgiving hug – always much for which to be grateful!


  3. Henna Inam November 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Thanks Sharon –

    What a wonderful reminder about receiving. I think in our culture (or at least in the way I grew up) I saw giving as a strength and receiving as a weakness…It causes me to think twice about asking for others’ help – – and even when I ask for it, I do it not with the confidence that I will get it or deserve it – – I do it often with lack of faith and trust.

    I see now that receiving (and asking for help while fully trusting) is an enormous strength and not a weakness. You’ve inspire me to create a list of what I was to ask others for – – and to also notice how much pleasure I get from giving to others – – that perhaps they get the same pleasure from giving as well.

    • sharon November 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Very grateful to you for sharing your insights, Henna. I believe that many share the perception you mention, that giving is a strength and receiving is a weakness. Overcoming this perception is a challenge but you have provided an excellent way – recognizing that others appreciate the opportunity to give to you!

      Sending love and a very big Thanksgiving hug!


  4. "C" November 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Sharon – It is ALWAYS so good to hear from you. How are you? Funny to receive the note from you. Someone told me the same recently. Thank you so much for the reminder again.

    Thank you for making a difference for so many of us!


    • sharon November 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      And it is so great to hear from you, “C”. Thanks for the taking the time to comment.

      There are no coincidences, so if you have received two reminders recently, this must be an important message for you. I truly believe that when we need to learn something, the lesson comes in many forms from many sources.

      Sending love and a very big Thanksgiving hug!


  5. Sarah November 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Such a simple but important lesson, I wonder why I struggle with it? Thanks very much for the reminder – this is a good time of year for me to practice! I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!


    • sharon November 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      Very grateful for your comment and candor, Sarah. Most women need this reminder about the importance of receiving, so be kind to yourself while you practice. As you say, this is a great time of year to do so.

      Sending love and a very big Thanksgiving hug!


  6. Kandy Ferree November 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    As always, right on time…..

    • sharon November 16, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Big smile, Kandy. Sending love and a very big Thanksgiving hug!


  7. Margaret November 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Hello Sharon,
    No random coincidences, right! I just asked the universe, the God in me “why all the stagnation, the delays, the apparent pain” in doing things that I enjoy or even love? It was only within a second of my question that I received your note – “are we truly open to receive”? This is my answer! Thank you for sharing your prophetic word. I now know, I delight in giving, I give and give until I have no more to give. Is this really the life? God’s love in me is to give and receive! I give cheerfully and receive lovely and as Sharon says “I deserve it”. May you be encouraged as Sharon has just encouraged me in this THANKSGIVING Season!

    • sharon November 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment, Margaret. What a powerful insight you have…”I now know, I delight in giving, I give and give until I have no more to give. Is this really the life?” How wonderful that you are committed to receiving — it may take some reminders along the way!

      Sending love and a very big Thanksgiving hug!