The Art of Receiving (or: How Not to Feel Guilty When People Are Super Generous)

There is something to be said about allowing others to give to you.

It brings me great joy to give to others (both things tangible and things intangible), but when it comes to being on the receiving end there remains a slight discomfort. A discomfort that straddles the invisible line between guilt of being an imposition and fear of not deserving. However, being in an unfamiliar place and transitioning my career into a new industry has put me in a situation where I rely greatly on the generosity of others.

I have officially spent close to 10 nights in the spare bedroom of my childhood best friend and have been extended countless other invitations to crash on extra beds and couches across the country (all of which I plan to accept). I have been taken around to some of the best food and wine establishments in Sydney and given personal introductions to some of the most exciting and talented winemakers in the country. I have been given recommendations of where to go, what to do, and who to ask for when I do it.

I feel at once deeply grateful and slightly uncomfortable. I know how to be the giver, it comes naturally to me and I do it all the time. Without a second thought I am quick to offer the bed, the tours, the introductions, the recommendations. And when the recipients of my gifts express their gratitude I truly feel like it is unnecessary, because the gift for me really is in the giving – and besides, it wasn’t that big of a deal anyway.

So, why then, is it so hard to be on the other side of things? Why is it so hard to believe that someone else might enjoy giving for the sake of giving just as much as I do? Why is it so damn hard to just graciously receive?

I think the answer is the kind of thing you spend your lifetime peeling back the layers from (you know, the kind of thing you pay your therapist $200 to call an hour). More important, perhaps, than knowing exactly why is learning how to transform it. So my practice right now is to receive as graciously as possible. To take all of the offers extended and fully receive them with deep gratitude. And a hand written thank you note when appropriate.



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