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The Gift of Receiving

When was the last time you really received something? And I mean that in the truest sense of the word: intentionally opened yourself to a particular sensation, feeling, expression, or experience?

It doesn’t come easy for many of us. So often we let the opportunity to receive pass us by, or we even actively push it away. How many times have you responded to someone thanking you by quickly saying, “No problem”? There isn’t something wrong with that response, but it’s worth acknowledging that it shuts us off from receiving someone’s gratitude.

Our capacity for receiving something falls in direct proportion to our belief in our worthiness of it. We can’t take something in, whether it’s an expression of someone’s appreciation, love, or care for us or the beauty and majesty of a sunset, unless we know in our bones we deserve it. And the more fully we know we deserve it, the more fully the goodness of it can reverberate in our hearts. 

It makes sense then that receptivity can be a growing edge for us depending on the kinds of messages we got about our worth growing up. Behind every guilty, anxious, or selfish feeling for receiving and taking in the good is a doubt of our inherent, unchanging worth. 

Our culture certainly doesn’t support the act of receiving, either. It promotes relentless consumption and the acquiring and possession of material things, yes. (Especially this time of year!) But receiving is something totally different.

Receiving is about staying open and connected: our hearts connected with another person; with the Earth; with the wonder and beauty of the simple and grand moments in life. It is a willingness to slow down and pause to really take something in, whether it’s someone else’s appreciation for you, the sound of the wind in the trees, the proud look on your nephew’s face when he presents you with something he created, bona fide help from a friend in the middle of a crisis, an out-of-the-blue compliment from a stranger, dusk in the autumn months, the look of the moon in the night sky. Last year I wrote a post on finding gratitude during dark times. Whether we are in a dark time or not, this is the space where gratitude emerges, in the space of receptivity. 

Contrary to our culture’s messages, we really don’t need to “get stuff” to feel good. Life presents us with countless opportunities to receive its goodness right here, right now. And the best part is, we have so much more to give when we are able to receive. In fact, we can only give what we ourselves are able to receive. 

Are you ready to receive? While still honoring what you may be enduring during this time, I invite you to receive the goodness of life as fully as you can this season. You are worth it. And your heart will thank you for it.

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