Receiving “Thank you” with Grace

How do you handle your wrapped gifts? Do you tear into them with gleeful eagerness, or do you savor them, carefully peeling open the creased paper?


Tim Milburn
has a terrific post on Joyful Jubilant Learning about how we receive, so perfectly timed for our ho‘ohana this month on mahalo, the value of thankfulness. Tim writes “It is Better to Give AND Receive.”

What I’m discovering, especially during this time of year, is how you open a gift isn’t nearly as important as how you receive a gift.

I know that this is the season of giving, but at some point along the way, someone will give something to us. At some point, we will receive — and how we receive is an opportunity to give in return.

Gratitude can be a tricky thing. Sometimes we don’t want to be on the receiving end of things. We like to be givers. But we forget that the joy of giving is often super-sized by the expressions of gratitude from those whom we give to. We love to see people receive our gifts with a sense of humble appreciation, like they were never expecting anything like this.

The words “thank you” are a gift in themselves too. However have you noticed how it is one of the hardest things we do, managing to simply and sincerely say, “You’re welcome” and leave it at that?

Why is it that instead, we tend to answer, “Oh, that’s okay” or, “It was no big deal,” or “Please, don’t mention it” and ruin the spirit of giving and receiving with our carelessly blurted out retorts?   That someone gave us something worth our appreciation is way more than just “okay.” It is indeed a very “big deal,” and it is absolutely worth mentioning!

Let’s practice, for I have a lot of reasons to say “thank you” to you.

Ready to receive?

Thank you for visiting Talking Story, and for reading what I have to say. I truly do appreciate that you do.

Comments

  1. says

    A bit more on this;
    I’ve just been reading an interview that Oprah did with Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander. Oprah pays her a compliment, and I like the way that Fitch responds, with a thank you which must have made Oprah feel so good for noticing what she noticed, and choosing to say what she did:
    OPRAH: Your fiction is art ”“ real, layered, and complex.
    JANET: Thank you. I’m always looking for something new and interesting to say. And it can’t be something I’m directly experiencing.

  2. says

    Your story Rosa reminds me of one of the more graceful ways I have heard to accept a compliment. In Chinese, there is a saying “Wo bu gan dan”. What it literally says is “I am not a choice egg.” What it actually means is “You flatter me with your compliment. I do not deserve such praise but it is your generous spirit that allows you so say this to me. Thank you for your generosity.”
    In other words, it acknolwedges the compliment and also honors the speaker.