February 8, 2023

5 Benefits of Learning to Receive.


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It was a sunny autumn day as I strolled along the city street.

I was wearing my new fedora, a beautiful rich wine coloured hat.

I passed an elderly woman on the street and our eyes met. She stopped and leaned on her walker, greeting me with a twinkle in her eye. “Hello,” she said brightly. “I want to tell you how much I love your hat!”

I paused in my walking, and smiled hello. “Thank you so much. I love wearing it, and how nice of you to notice it.” That’s all that happened. She kept on her way, and I continued on to complete my shopping.

What really happened that day? Why do I still remember that magical interaction?

I was able to receive the woman’s compliment fully. As I thanked her, she was able to receive from me. She and I were engaged in what I call a “gift exchange.” Both of us walked away feeling richer for the way in which we engaged with each other. This is what happens when someone learns to receive.

In the past, I struggled with receiving compliments. I would brush them off or diminish them by making an excuse. It was during my life coaching training that I learned about the power of receiving graciously. I started practicing saying a simple thank you. It was as if I was learning a foreign language. I felt shy and awkward at first, and it was only after many attempts that I could say a gracious thank you and not feel as if I was stumbling and sounding inauthentic.

Over the years, I have been fascinated by the concept of receiving. What keeps people from accepting compliments? Why does this matter? What are the benefits of receiving?

Here are a few of the ideas that I trust will encourage you to receive in your life.

What are the blocks to receiving graciously?

1. When I do not see myself as worthy of the things others are saying of me, it is impossible to say a simple thank you. I may not think I deserve the praise, or I worry I am an imposter and if they really knew me, they wouldn’t affirm me.

2. What if I seem proud and arrogant when I accept a compliment? Does a humble person accept accolades? My upbringing taught me that “pride goes before a fall,” and so I want nothing to do with appearing to be full of myself.

3. I compare myself unfavourably to others and so I am not able to see what others see in me. I just focus on my lack of experience or education. I literally do not believe it when they say something positive about me.

4. I may feel embarrassed and at a loss for words when I hear someone praising me. It is a vulnerable feeling, and so I clam up or brush off the comments as best I can.

5. I am used to taking care of others and giving support to them. I am not used to being on the receiving end of a relationship, and so it seems awkward for me to accept from others.

What are the benefits of receiving?

1. When I receive graciously, I offer a chance for others to give. They will feel the glow of generosity in our interaction. This is a way we can both benefit.

2. Receiving with ease and joy opens the door to gratitude and abundance. As I get more comfortable with accepting, I am more aware of the goodness in my life. I am able to see my own positive attributes as well as those surrounding me in my colleagues and family who are affirming me.

3. As I receive, I become more of who I really am. When I truly accept the kind words coming my way, I find that I become more of what others are seeing in me. Often, it is others who see some qualities in me that I may not even be aware of.

4. I learn vulnerability and humility as I receive. I develop courage as I say a sweet and simple thank you, rather than adding on excuses and reasons why their comments are not true. This response honours the person from whom I am receiving.

5. I spread joy as I receive. I let go of my obligation to give back or justify why their compliment cannot possibly be true. I smile and enjoy the camaraderie of a respectful connection.

Think back to my experience on the city street. Imagine what I might have missed if I had not received the woman’s compliment graciously. Here is a powerful truth I have learned on my path to receiving:

“The better I am at receiving, the better I become at giving.”

I would love the opportunity to receive from you as you read my post, and let me know what you think.

Please share any stories of receiving or when you struggled with this concept. This is a lifelong learning journey for me, and I would love to share it with the rest of you.


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