“Knowing how to accept graciously is a skill we all would benefit from honing.”
For some of us, gift-giving and gift-receiving is no simple matter. I’m not saying gift is a bad thing. Gift is an item given to someone without the expectation of anything in return. But gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity.
Giving is a two way street, naturally, as human, we are reciprocal in nature. It doesn’t matter if the gift from the other party is not of equal proportion, what matter the most is for the two way street to be equal. When you give someone something, and they can’t reciprocate, it robs them of their dignity.
It happened to me once, when I met with a cousin of mine that it’s been four years we’ve last seen each other. He got me a gift that I was certainly not expecting. I smiled and I told him, “I didn’t know we would be exchanging gifts. I feel terrible I have nothing for you, but I love this gift. Thank you very much.” I left it at that.
You don’t have to make excuses, you don’t have to pretend as if you have a gift at home if someone gives a gift unexpectedly, the best thing you can do is to accept the gift graciously and make sure to show whatever gratitude you are feeling.
Gottsman said: “smile, make direct eye contact, show genuine appreciation. Decide later if you would like to give them a gift back.”
I think this is something we have all gone through before. Sometimes receiving a gift from someone gives us an innate feeling of obligation, as though we have to return the gift or the favour or else we are somehow in the person’s “debt.” If someone gives you gift during your birthday, wedding or promotion. Part of us will take it as a debt towards that person and we would want to return the exact favour for that person when the time comes. It doesn’t even matter if the gift is not of equal proportion, we just want to appreciate the person back.
Here’s another aspect of giving; Sometimes, we are worried about what to get and may spend rediculous amounts of time trying to make the right impression. Will our gifts make us look like we are thoughtful or thoughtless? Will they fit with the occasion regarding how much effort or money to spend? Will our gifts look paltry or generous in comparison to others’ gifts? For empathic people, gift – giving can engender all kinds of time – consuming thought. It’s truly challenging to find affordable thoughtful gifts given our limited time or finances sometimes.
Dr Ellen Langer who has studied how gifts strengthen social ties, says that to give a really good gift, ” you must ask yourself, what do I want the gift to convey, what are the various way to convey it, and how might I be misunderstood?”
When you receive a gift, it feels equally as good because it let’s you know someone is thinking of you in a kind and generous way.
Accept and give gratitude = win.