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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Accepting help or gifts is a form of giving.

With my birthday and Christmas in the rearview and my impending wedding in the forefront, I had pondered about gifts and how I do or don't accept them.  (Written 2/27/16)

I have always been the type to give freely to others, to try to consider what might be important to them, but I've always struggled with accepting gifts, especially if they are of significant monetary value.  I mean ultimately, I probably will accept them, but I really don't feel comfortable at all with it.  In fact, it really makes me feel a little guilty for accepting gifts of value.  Now, on the other hand, I have no issue accepting gifts that are directed toward my daughter Olivia.  If they are directed towards my fiancĂ©e--now wife--and I, I think I'd be okay.

I suspect I'm far from the unique in this type of mindset.  Why is that?  Growing up, I learned to accept wanting for at times.  I learned to accept not having or getting too much.  Maybe, when I receive gifts, I suspect there might be an expectation it that I might not fulfill?   Maybe at times, I don't feel I deserve to be made a big deal of.   I'm not really sure and perhaps it doesn't really matter.  However, I do know this much,  this type of mindset tends to focus on MY NEEDS and MY EMOTIONAL WELLBEING.  In other words, I am thinking about what "I" am comfortable with and not necessarily the needs of the giver.

In pondering the subject matter, I've come to a few conclusions:
  • Provided that it is clear the giver isn't expecting anything except my gratitude for giving to me, it might just be alright to accept a gift.
  • Provided that I am not knowingly taking advantage of their generosity--and cynically put on a false humility to hide my greed--it might just be alright to accept a gift. 
  • Provided I either reciprocate--in kind or giving of myself--out of love and/or pay forward with said generosity, accepting a gift might just be okay. 
  • Sometimes people give generously as it makes them feel good.  In other words, a friend might know I need help, but am too proud to ask, but he or she steps up and offers the help.  He or she gets the warm feeling of helping me when it wasn't asked.  It's almost if they are saying your emotional well-being and is important to me and if I can just move that a little cause I like you, allow me that.  In a way, how we accept a gift determines if we are 'giving back' to the gift giver.  Do we give them an opportunity to feel good about themselves when they have offered to help us in a time of crisis.
I guess the short summary of this blog post for me is:
  • To not greedily take advantage of other's generosity.
  • To not accept gifts that come bearing 'controlling' expectations of me.
  • To recognize generosity to me and to at least pay it forward when I am in a place to do.
But, most of all, I have to remember this one simple idea: recognize that in accepting another's gift(s), I may just be affording them an opportunity to feel good about themselves and that means something.

Thanks Ben for giving me the opportunity to see you in Baltimore when I wasn't in a position to pay for a flight.  I hope I gave back by offering my friendship to you.



Given my imminent marriage, I felt that this song would be an appropriate end to this blog entry.