It’s Sometimes Harder To Receive Than To Give

give and receive street sign illustration design over a white background

give and receive street sign illustration design over a white background

Have you ever been given a compliment, and your initial reaction is to shove it off and say “Oh no I’m just….” fill in the blank. How do you feel when you compliment someone and they just simply refuse to receive it? Furthermore, how many people have spent their whole lives intentionally refuting genuine compliments, and then they wonder why they have a poor self esteem?

Our habit of turning away compliments is reflective of a larger habit, and I daresay we don’t always even realize we do it. Because our culture values independence so much, we have a hard time communicating – even subtly – that we can accept anything from another person. That includes something as simple as a compliment. It’s the flip side of independence: deliberate isolation.

What it means in the real world: we have a hard time receiving.

Independence in and of itself is not all bad. However, I prefer the phrase inter-dependence. We are people that need each other. We need each other for emotional support, like the above example with a simple compliment. We need each other for physical support, as in helping out with the daily task of doing all the things life physically requires of us. And we need each other for many other things. People are inter-dependent on one another, whether or not we realize it.

To genuinely practice and live out inter-dependence, we must be able to not only give, but also receive. Because it is so infrequently used, the ability to receive is a skill in personal growth that needs to be practiced. Of course it is better to give than to receive. But to receive, you must sometimes be intentional about it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “it’s better to give than to receive.” I believe that is absolutely true. But look at that phrase again. “It’s better to” is not the same as “receiving is evil.” It only says that one should derive more pleasure from giving. It does not say that you should never receive anything. Unfortunately, that is the way it is oftentimes interpreted.

So what does all this have to do with sales, you wonder?

Simply this. How can you have an attitude of expectation to receive increased sales when your ability to receive is impaired? Your prospects need what you have to offer, and you need their sale! How much harder is it to receive that sale if you aren’t well versed in the art of receiving? Consider this. If even something as simple as words get willfully and instinctively turned away, how much more do larger things? Are we afraid, or maybe even too prideful and independent to receive them?

Where do you stand with your ability to receive? Is this a skill that you carry out with grace and dignity, or do you rather fumble over it and feel a bit guilty when you do? Either way, if you want to work on your ability to receive, a good way to start is through intentional, genuine gratitude.

Do this: the next time you’re offered a compliment, don’t send it back. Say thank you, and mean it.

Consider the person that gave you the compliment, take in their words, and offer love and gratitude in return. You’ll start practicing the art of inter-dependence, and you’ll find you’re in good company when you do.