You have absolute control over but one thing, and that is your thoughts. – Napoleon Hill
I was always a good “giver” growing up. I would spend days finding the perfect gifts for people and was often teased about my Hallmark like handwritten greetings. I was also well versed in giving my time away to anyone in need. I would give the right-away to anyone on a sidewalk, or deflect compliments before they truly landed. When I was given gifts, I would immediately write a thank you note and begin thinking about how to reciprocate. I would eventually get overwhelmed and feel depleted and then act burdened. I realize now, that was selfish.
Giving is much easier than receiving because the giver has control. To truly receive we must open ourselves up and that means we are vulnerable. We have been in the process of publishing a book. We have never been through this process before and it is the ultimate out of control feeling. For the past month, we have been anxious to the point of exhaustion. We knew our name was going out on something that we have never seen completed and it was going out almost a month after the initial ship date. There were so many factors beyond our control and the more we pushed for answers the more slowly the project unfolded. We were really comfortable when the ball was in our court because we were in control of giving the publisher everything they asked for on-time and ahead of schedule, but when it came time to receive the product, every minute of waiting felt like a lifetime.
We have learned enough on this journey to know it is never about the conditions of any situation, it is about how we feel each moment. How can we be really good at giving unconditionally if we are not open to receiving? The lack of control was where the discomfort originated. As soon as we identified it, we could let it go. We decided this past week that it was time to stop pushing. It was time to express gratitude for the opportunity. It was time to lean into the uncertainty. It was time to receive whatever was coming whenever it arrived and it was a gift.
The very next morning we received an email that the books were completed and shipped. Initially, the same tape started again with a slightly different tune. What if it is not exactly what we imagined? What if it has a typo? Will people love it? What if they don’t?
That is when we realized our challenge with receiving is not situational. The tape will play as long as we resist the lesson.
We are open, confident in the face of uncertainty, and vulnerable enough to see the beauty in everyday gifts. Today we started by walking through a door someone else was holding, saying thank you to a compliment, and turning our anxiety about our book into excited anticipation.
This season the greatest gift we have received is our knowledge that receiving is not only acceptable but it actually makes us more gracious.
Today’s Tweetable: Receiving is not only acceptable but it actually makes us more gracious.