The Importance of Receiving

Posted November 21, 2012 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

For years the message has been put out there: “The greatest gift is giving.” And with Thanksgiving tomorrow, gratitude is the central theme of all our thoughts. Giving thanks is vitally important to enjoying the moment, but when did we all get so uncomfortable with receiving?

There is nothing quite like seeing someone’s face light up when you give them the perfect gift. Their joy somehow magically transfers back to us and seems to multiply. It doesn’t matter if it’s a material good, an act of kindness, experience, or even a prayer. One of the most fulfilling experiences is to completely focus on someone else and making them happy.

But I’ve noticed an interesting trend going on. The same people that work so selflessly to help others struggle to receive gratitude (especially when it comes to verbal acknowledgement). What’s going on there? I see this happening all around me, especially when it comes to women. It sounds something like this:


Jen: “Wow! I think it’s really incredible what you’re doing at the recreation center for inner city kids struggling with healthy eating.”

Beth: “Me? No, I’m just throwing in a helping hand when I can.”

Jen: “You go there every Friday. It’s really inspiring to see the change you’re creating.”

Beth: “It’s no big deal. I’m lucky to have a great group of kids.”


Perhaps these humble givers have become so accustomed to the feeling of sharing that they’ve forgotten about the other half of the equation? Giving and receiving are two equals, in a constant flux that creates balance. For one person to give, someone else must receive. So by blocking yourself from accepting, you might be denying someone their opportunity to give fully.

It’s a lot like breathing. The inhale and exhale are equally important, and we wouldn’t be alive without both. The world operates the same way with giving and receiving. Giving without allowing yourself to receive is similar to only exhaling for a really long time. Eventually you run out of air, and you have to breathe in again if you want to keep going.

Receiving holds the same possibility for happiness, excitement, and fulfillment. So, why has it become a taboo? It is not selfish nor egotistical to receive. It will not turn you into a scrooge. It most definitely will not keep you from giving — actually, quite the opposite! While you may feel a bit like a hero or martyr by always giving, you are denying yourself the ability to fill up with appreciation.

You deserve to receive the love, praise, and thanks that people are offering to you. Try accepting without brushing it off, or worse: refusing it. This practice is very simple, yet powerfully profound…

Remain open, accept, give thanks, and allow yourself to be filled up with gratitude.

This week reflect on the ways you can receive the goodness all around you in your life. Open yourself up to unexpected blessings. More positivity, abundance, and love will flow to you as soon as you are ready to receive it.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.