Articles / Relationships

Be a Good Receiver


Are you a good receiver? It might sound like a funny question but it is an important one that each of us should ask ourselves.

Strangely, most of us are better givers than we are receivers. We give to our children, our spouses, our friends, charities and, contrary to what we might think, most of us are actually very good at giving. But receiving; now that is another matter. We often feel subtly uncomfortable when receiving. Even compliments get deflected when they come our way. Someone pays us a compliment for helping them move or clean up the house and we say, “Ah, it was nothing.” Or someone compliments us on an outfit we are wearing and we feel inclined to mention how we bought it at a discount instead of simply enjoying the compliment and letting it nourish us. The compliment is a gift to us, and when we don’t receive it properly we are dishonoring the giver.

Receiving is actually harder to do than giving. Giving is easy, as there is much pleasure in giving, but receiving is an art that takes practice. To be a good receiver requires intimacy, allowing others in our life, however momentarily. It is always a pleasure to be in the presence of a good receiver, to enjoy the way they receive. Being a good receiver is honoring the giver and giving them back something.

Many relationships are suffering not because people are not giving to each other, but because they are not receiving from each other. We should receive the love, respect compliments, and acknowledge one another every time giving occurs. We should practice receiving all the pleasures that happen to us daily, not take anything for granted. Think of how many simple everyday gifts from life we are constantly being given: the beauty of nature, the sound of children playing, art, stimulating conversations. Are we truly receiving them when they happen to us, or are we busy, preoccupied with other matters, not noticing? We should master the art of receiving, be a good receiver and accept the gifts life offers us.

We are taught that it is better to give than receive, but this wrong. It is better to give and receive. Give and receive. If we think it is better to give than receive, this suggests that there is something wrong with receiving. There is nothing wrong with receiving; in fact we want to receive more, let life shower us with gifts, pleasures, joys, surprises, both large and small, and we want to show our appreciation for all these things. The more we can receive, the more we can give back, but the reverse it not true. Giving more does not necessarily mean we can receive more. We must remember that it is harder to receive than give, and work on this part of ourselves so that we become good receivers and givers, with both in balance.

Be a good receiver and let life’s many blessings nourish you deeply. Notice how much there is to receive and don’t be selfish or distracted; receive it generously and abundantly, showing your appreciation every opportunity you can. This gratitude will send out vibrations of energy that will attract even more blessings to you. This is the alchemy of mastering the art of receiving. This practice will nourish you well.

John Kehoe