Daily Nugget of Gold 959
Balancing Obligation and Grace
We sometimes are in a pickle. We get caught between thankfulness for what someone does or offers to do for us, or to give us- and the sense of obligation sometimes that we feel because we allowed someone to do or give something meaningful, valuable, and worthwhile to us.
Suppose we had a friend who asked us one day if we could watch their kids while they went out for a night. In our minds, we keep a mental tally, so that if we did that again a few more times, we kinda-sorta expect some sort of reciprocation or return, otherwise it might begin to dawn upon us that maybe these friends are using us and our relationship and not really providing mutual benefit. The reverse can be true if we think that someone who does us some good deed or helps us financially or otherwise and we get this sense of obligation of wanting to pay them back somehow.
These are natural currents, aren’t they? They seem to keep things balanced and keep us from becoming social leaches and also provide a mechanism which might get triggered if we begin to perceive we are being taken advantage of.
The successful-minded individual probably shouldn’t abandon these feelings completely, but let’s discuss relaxing them a bit. One thing we don’t often think about a person who is giving, particularly if they give of themselves or their resources to us, is that they receive benefit in doing so, especially if they view it as helping or an expression of generosity. Doing things like that can be an expression of gratitude for something as simple as our friendship.
Encouraging a person in the art of being a graceful receiver of compliments, service, or aid by expressing the warmth we feel about them that led us to give of ourselves or our resources also aids them in easing the obligation they may feel. Similarly, remembering to be graceful in accepting the good or uplifting things other people say about us is a way of saying you appreciate them and how they feel and are grateful. Rejecting compliments may indicate that we have a low self-image.
We probably want to become more graceful in receiving, thanking people for their thoughtfulness, because often their impression is they are bestowing a blessing. Likewise, we want to give freely from a heart overflowing with love words of encouragement, and share our blessings more often with those who might benefit. In general, we aren’t rebelling entirely against the social norms of balance, just relaxing them a bit to accommodate more lovingly the feelings of others we are blessed to have in our lives.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
What can I do today to become a more thoughtful giver and recipient?
Copyright 2013 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.