Here we are again. Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday! In the next four frenzied weeks, we'll be overwhelmed with images and messages urging us to find the perfect holiday gifts for our loved ones, not to mention our co-workers and all the service providers we regularly interact with. From $2 lottery tickets to luxury autos, funny fuzzy socks to flat screen TVs, the gift-giving wave swells up and sweeps along everyone in the powerful path of its massive surge.
For the most part, we've learned to surf the wave. Some of us prefer to buy off the rack, shelf or domain. Others stitch, knit or weave with our hands, or maybe weld, hammer or glue. Sometimes we pen heartfelt letters or plant a tree or name a star or sing a song or volunteer. By now, most of us have learned to give in the manner that suits us best.
But there is an undertow to this wave of giving. And that is receiving. Do you put as much thought into receiving as you do to giving? How do you receive?
Receiving need not be a passive act. It is an integral part of the exchange. It does not matter if the giver is a co-worker at the company's Yankee Swap or a beloved partner; nor if the gift is given out of a sense of obligation or pure generosity. Receiving is a opportunity like any other -- meaning it's an opportunity to choose your response. It is not what you have been given that matters as much as that you have been given. Avoid second-guessing the reason for the gift. Learn the art of appreciation. As you accept what you've been given, you can cultivate an awareness of how you are receiving. This is the perfect opening for you to practice grace and gratitude.
And when we're all ringing in 2020, committing to Dry January and renewing our gym memberships, you'll be that much more open to and adept at receiving and appreciating the gifts that always come your way on ordinary days in ordinary ways, when no one else is looking.