At this time of year, we are focused on acts of giving, but there is an important counter-action to giving; receiving. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the act of receiving is a complicated one, yet one that is worth examining as we head into the season of giving. On the surface it seems easy enough, someone gives you something and you express gratitude, and the majority of time that may be exactly what happens. However, how well do you receive a compliment?
"Receiving requires an act of self-confidence..."
It is not always comfortable to acknowledge a compliment; sometimes receiving is a complex action because the gift (anything from a smile to a compliment) takes you by surprise, or receiving it requires something of you that you may not have available (which is no reflection on the gift giver). For a variety of reasons, you may feel uncomfortable or even unwilling to receive what is being offered, even though it may be given in a heartfelt way. Receiving requires an act of self-confidence, an act of celebration, honouring your worth thorough the kind intentions of others.
"When you don’t let what you do for a living touch you, you are unable to let your work nourish you..."
The next time someone compliments your work, check in to see how that makes you feel. Ashamed (I am not worthy of this compliment)? Vulnerable (I do that well, but there is so much else I need to fix)? Something else that you’d rather not feel (put your words here…). This is a sign you are not able to let your hard work, worth, value or the difference you make, touch you. When you don’t let what you do for a living touch you, you are unable to let your work nourish you, contributing to depletion and burnout. Practice receiving a compliment; smile and say a heartfelt “Thank-you”. That is all that is required, and then feel the warmth your acknowledgement brings to both you and the gift giver.
"Consider the importance of understanding your gifts, and letting them sustain you..."
While a lot of societal value is placed on giving, receiving is an equally important act because it is necessary for giving to take place in a meaningful way. As you head into the final days of 2019, reflect on your ability to receive as a mirror of your own self-confidence, and the value your awareness here may hold for yourself in owning your gifts. Consider the importance of understanding your gifts, and letting them sustain you – it’s not like compliments come every day. It begins with the act of heart-felt receiving, creating shared meaning and warmth at a time when we all may need it most.
“At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient... only the universe rearranging itself.” - Jon Kabbat-Zinn