Accepting the Gifts that Come

May 17, 2011

The Park House Club in Cardiff, wrapped as a gift

The Park House Club in Cardiff, Wales, wrapped as a gift. (Image via Wikipedia)

Gift: (1) something given  voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present. (2) Something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. Gift can also be a verb – that act of giving a gift is “to gift”.

Those are the definitions from

But what are gifts to you? And more importantly, how are you at accepting gifts when they come your way?

Many of us struggle to fully accept gifts. Think, for a moment, of all the various ways that gifts come into your life – whether it is directly from people, or just the day-to-day things that happen to us that bring us joy, money, abundance, health, and so forth, when we seem to have done nothing to make those things happen. They just – come to us.

I sometimes resist gifts. There might be perfectly legitimate reasons for this at times. For example, we all know about the gifts that we simply do not want, particularly gifts of “things” or “stuff” that we see no value in, that may just clutter up our lives. (Here’s my secret to you for those gifts: Accept them with a smile, and think to yourself how much fun they will be at the next white elephant gift exchange you attend!) Sometimes gifts can feel like more than we can handle. If taking the gift requires some action on our part, then we may struggle to want to take that action, to either feel capable or ready for that action or obligation.

One reason we may struggle with acceptance of gifts comes from the principal of reciprocity. This is a basic human tendency to want to give back what is given. So we may worry about what the gift means in terms of obligation. Accepting a gift binds us to another in a way that we may not desire, that makes us feel an obligation to return the gift or favor.

The expression “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is a very old English proverb, first written down in 1546 by John Heywood (“No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth.” Source You can judge the age of horse from its teeth, so this proverb is telling us not to judge the value of a gift, but instead to accept the gift as it is.

Many people have a particularly difficult time with monetary gifts. And they don’t often come daily, but they do come to most of us at least on occasion.

Today’s Monday with Money exercise is about gratitude, acceptance, and gifts. You are going to explore your own attitudes about gifts, your openness and receptiveness to what comes your way.  The goal is to explore, not to judge. Just become aware of your own receptiveness, your own feelings about gifts.

What would your life look like if you fully accepted whatever gifts came your way? What would it feel like if, instead of worrying about them, instead of pushing them away, you just let them come?

It takes 21 days to create a new habit. So I suggest doing this exercise daily for at least 21 days, as a means of both understanding your feelings about gifts and also cultivating your ability to accept gifts. Yes, I think you should actively learn to accept gifts. Because your life is short, you don’t know when it will end, and until you stop pushing away gifts, you may also push away money. And I want you to have all the money you deserve!

Here’s what you are going to journal for 21 days. Each morning and each evening, take 10-20 minutes to contemplate the gifts in your life. As always, do this with a pen and paper, not on a computer. That is a much more direct way of tapping into your consciousness. I have given you some sentences to complete. Write as much as you’d like. Some days you may only write one sentence, but when you have more to say, let that flow.

Each morning, complete these sentences:

I am open to gifts today because _______________.
When a gift comes my way, I am going to ____________________.
The best thing I can do to guarantee that I do not miss a gift is _____________________.

Each evening, complete these sentences:

Today I received…
When I received _______________, I felt ___________________.
The best gift that I received today was _____________.
This gift is going to help me by ______________.
I look forward to tomorrow’s gifts because __________________.

As you do this exercise, be as gracious and broad as you can in defining gifts. Remember, they are “something given voluntarily without payment in return”. If you do this, you will soon see that gifts are all around you, that they present themselves to you frequently. Gifts don’t have to come from people. I often feel, when I see particular animal species, that I have been given the gift of their presence. I feel this often about nature. A gift can come in many guises. Recognizing them is also a key to accepting them.

Allowing money into your life fully is closely tied to fully accepting, and appreciating, gifts. In order to be fully at peace with money, we must let money flow – which means that we must accept it and give it. Why not give yourself the gift of 21 days of exploration, and see what happens.

I’d love to hear your comments about gifts. When has gift receiving been difficult for you, and why? Or when has it been filled with gratitude?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

GST Consultants November 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic. Keep posting and keep this forum a great place to learn things.


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