We've all heard it: it's better to give than to receive. At this writing, it is right before Christmas, so there's a lot of giving and receiving going on. Mostly, it goes like this: I give you a present, you receive it; you give me a present, I receive that.
Let's talk about another kind of receiving. It's the kind where there's no (or very little) expectation or possibility of giving something back to the giver.
My friend Anna* is the nicest person on earth (seriously, you could ask anybody). She's so nice that people love doing things for her and giving her stuff. Anna went through a bad patch a few years ago, and she was literally showered with gifts of all kinds. I asked her: "Anna, how do you pay people back for all this stuff?" She said, "I don't." Since Anna is the nicest person on earth, I was a little surprised. "You don't even try to reciprocate?" She said, "Nope. I try to pay it forward. But I really can't." Wow. That is some advanced humanity.
Once upon a time, I was in the hardware store, headed toward the cash register with my one little item. There was a lady ahead of me, laden with all kinds of stuff—tools, plants, what-not. She nearly toppled under her burden. "You go ahead of me," she says. I started to say, "No! You have so much stuff there." But I changed my mind, said thank-you, and checked out as fast as I could. Why did I do that? Because it made her feel good. Had I insisted she go first, I would have taken away her opportunity to do a good deed. Any onlookers probably thought of me, "Dang, is she selfish or what?"
It felt good to receive. And it looked like she enjoyed doing it. We both probably got more out of it than yet another sweater or the latest electronic gizmo. What we gave each other didn't cost a nickel.
Let someone do something nice for you. It may be the best gift they receive.
Kim Phillips | Tiny Creative House
*Anna isn't her real name.
©2016 Kim Phillips
Photo by Dwayne Toplin | Unsplash