Ok. One holiday done. Thursday was Thanksgiving. But then there was Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It doesn’t stop there, cuz today is Giving Tuesday, which is a new one on me. Didn’t know it was a thing. It’s got me thinking though. In the past week, I’ve had two conversations with precious people in my life about giving. And about receiving. And about how they’re related. And about how the receiving is just as important as the giving. And that they might even be the same thing
First it was Lisa. A while back, Lisa and I were talking about her terrible allergies. I had a hard time knowing that she was struggling so much. So I recommended an alternative treatment that worked for me and eliminated many of my allergies. Not too long after that, Lisa told me she took my suggestion. She’s finding a good bit of relief from the method I’d recommended. I’m really glad about that. I really like that she accepted the information I offered her.
The thing is, she keeps thanking me for telling her about it. And as she thanked me again the last time we talked, I realized something. I said it out loud to her, too. I told her that it wasn’t all my doing. I mean I’ve told other people about it before, I said. Most of them didn’t try it out. I pointed out that she had a part in it, too. She took me up on the suggestion and pursued the option for herself. She received my advice.
There you have it, I thought. A super important part of the act of giving is the act of receiving the gift.
Here’s the second example. Talking to my friend Joe, I asked a few questions about him and his family. It was obvious to him (I wasn’t exactly being subtle) that I am planning on giving them gifts for Christmas. He panicked a bit. I listened as Joe told me how gift-giving stresses him out and he asked that I not do it. I thought about it for a while. I absolutely want to respect his wishes. I don’t want to stress him out. But that doesn’t feel right to me. So I didn’t let it end there.
See I really, really, REALLY enjoy giving people things. Usually stuff I make, cuz I enjoy doing different types of art and love crafting and crocheting and things like that. Almost every time I make something, I have to do it with someone in mind. I have to make it for them. I derive pleasure from the creation of whatever it is. And I derive even more pleasure from giving it to them. I also don’t usually care if they give me something back. Something tangible, I mean.
I know it’s customary to give something to someone if they’ve given you something. But, does it really have to be a thing? For me, I’m realizing it doesn’t. What I get back from the gift recipient is simply their act of accepting my gift. I genuinely feel excited to have them get it, to have them take it in as their own, to make it become theirs.
I told Joe that, if he and his family wouldn’t mind, I would like to give my gifts to them anyway. And that their gift to me would be accepting them. Yeah, just that. Receiving what I’m giving is their gift to me. That’s all I want. It’s what makes me smile. And it’s the completion of the act of giving, this act of receiving.
So, yeah. We’re done with the turkey and into the realm of frantic shopping and wrapping with the due date of December 25th. 24 days from today, many of us will be giving and receiving gifts. My message to you about it all is this: pleeeease don’t worry if you haven’t gotten me something. Do me a favor and simply accept it, knowing that you receiving it is gift enough for me.