In one very special circumstance, these are difficult words for me to say:
I am not a graceful receiver of gifts.
I’m one of those folks who’s always more comfortable with credits on my side of the ledger.
What? LEDGER? What ledger?
You know the one, the mental scorecard we keep that tracks who bought the last round, who baked the last batch of cookies, who held the door last. It’s a deeply ingrained habit for lots of us, especially those of us who have a whit of control freak (or, perhaps, inferiority complex) in our personalities. We want to be sure we do not take advantage of our friends. Even more, we want to be sure our friends never feel that we might be getting more than we give. It’s always all about us, isn’t it?
Well, no, it’s not. Here’s why.
When someone gives you a gift, it is their intention to do something nice for you because they want to do it. It makes them feel happy. There’s no need for reciprocity. As a matter of fact, if you do try to repay the kindness, you ‘ve completely undone the whole damn thing. It’s a GIFT, not a trade!
Stop keeping score with your friends. Loving acts of kindness and generosity are not so trivial as to be counted and catalogued; they are to be appreciated, period. That is how real friends do it. Give gifts for the joy of giving. Don’t ruin your experience or your friends’ experience by making it a competition.
I said, “Thank you,” and she smiled. That’s how you do it.
I’m sixty-one years old and I am learning to get over my gift insecurity. If I can do it, so can you.