Sometimes other people and the universe give you exactly what you need at precisely the right moment – these are often things we are unable to give ourselves. No gesture should go unnoticed: think back to the last time someone gave you a gift you hadn’t asked for. Did you accept their kindness, or did you balk at it? Maybe you did nothing at all. Consider what type of message your behavior might have sent to that kind-hearted soul.
Nobody wants to be the kind of person who doesn’t reward good behavior. By not getting comfortable with accepting kindness, however, you may wind up undoing someone else’s good deed. You moved someone to such a degree that they felt a need to do something about it. That is an amazing testimony about who you are as a person.
The same goes for financial gestures. In today’s dating scene, for instance, it’s hard to know who should and shouldn’t pay – and for what. It comes back to paying it forward, and accepting what comes around – knowing that it will soon go the other way. If someone wants to pick up the check, it just means that at some point in the future you can return the favor on your own terms – when the spirit strikes.
Worthy or not
Of course, all of us sometimes fall short in the receiving department: let’s say you inadvertently giggle when someone pays you a compliment. Or you get tongue-tied, and opt to look away. Perhaps you walk off. In making that choice, you are doing yourself a disservice. You are dulling the light of an otherwise shining moment. You’re also saying to yourself – and to others – that you are unworthy of certain types of attention. We can be great at dealing with tough love, and sometimes we almost want to hear what we could be doing better – but when it comes to accepting accolades, we are not always able to do it.
Look at it this way: Someone went out of their way to make your day. Instead of being flabbergasted, why not soak up the flattery? Often, we don’t see in ourselves what others see. That is what’s great about choosing to receive kindness: it grants you the opportunity to reflect, and accept that people are recognizing what you weren’t able to notice about yourself – until their gesture came along. We also don’t know when and if our next prize will come – tomorrow, next week or next year. So take the moment for what it is – a chance to enjoy!
Okay, but how?
Let’s assume that now you understand why receiving graciously is important. Here are some tips for making the most of your next gift:
1. Start simple. Say “thank you.” The response serves a couple of purposes. First, you receive and acknowledge the gift – it’s common courtesy. Second, you exude confidence in a subtle way. That will remind them why they sent their good wishes in the first place.
2. Smile. It’s not uncommon to be shell-shocked, because you may be genuinely taken aback. By smiling, you buy yourself some time to find the right words for responding.
3. Write it down. This can be a great technique when we’re uncomfortable about receiving goodness. The written word is a handy tool to pick up the slack after the fact. A kind card, a sweet Post-It Note, a letter from the heart – all can make a huge difference.
4. Practice. How nurturing you are with yourself may determine how good or bad you are at receiving. The exciting news: the more you accept, the easier it gets! And the more inspired you will be to pass those good feelings along to others.
5. Be worthy. Remember – you are worth it!
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