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Becoming Soul Selfish: The Importance of Being a Gracious Receiver

I grew up as a “Good Girl” before becoming Soul Selfish. I did a lot of giving, prioritizing the wants and needs of others over my own, trying to secure the approval and attention of people important to me. Do this long enough, and you wind up with a life that’s out of balance, feeling like you’re giving, giving, giving while receiving little. One important way to shift this dynamic is to become a gracious receiver.

Acknowledging & Appreciating the Gifts You’re Given Will Change Your Life

You already know how good it feels to have your efforts and kindnesses recognized. But think about what happens when you do something for someone and they don’t even acknowledge it, or only give a perfunctory thank you. How does that feel?  Does that inspire you to give more?

Because they are not used to it, “Good Girls” often have a hard time being gracious receivers.  Instead, they often deflect compliments with denials: “You look so pretty.” — “Thanks but my hair doesn’t look so great today.”  Or they turn down kindnesses with comments like — “That isn’t necessary!” or  “No thanks. I can do that myself.”  How does it feel to hear responses like these to things you’ve offered to others?

Just like inhaling and exhaling, giving and receiving is a cycle. Both are necessary for a healthy life. Expending more energy than you take in leaves you feeling depleted and empty.  Right now you may feel like you’re not receiving much, but with more awareness you can restore that balance. You can also choose to give to yourself!

Start by mindfully considering your day, and commit to acknowledging and appreciating even the smallest gifts that are presented to you. Maybe a colleague holds the elevator for you. Perhaps your child presents you with a picture done in art class. Or your husband offers to clean up after dinner. Whatever the gift, let your giver feel your appreciation— a smile or happy “thank you” — or if it’s appropriate, a warm hug.

Becoming a grateful receiver will dramatically impact the way others treat you. Enthusiastic receiving encourages more giving and loving support. Even if you never fully played the “Good Girl” role, this cycle can get out of balance. Restoring that balance happens through the conscious practice of being a gracious receiver. Give it a try!