giving and receiving

This week has given me lessons on being gracious, humble, and thankful.  It was not as easy as I would’ve thought.  This weekend marked the end of a very busy and somewhat stressful stretch of events in which I was involved.  I love doing the work I do.  What I haven’t loved is the feeling of being stretched too far.  In order for me to continue to do this kind of work, I will have to look at better ways to bring balance into the equation.  Giving requires energy and energy must be replenished so more can be given.  So with that said, I’d like to reflect on everything I’ve learned this week and give thanks to everyone who helped.

Have you ever been in the position of receiving praise, recognition of achievement, or being honored?  I was nominated and chosen for an award celebrating excellence in caregiving and attended a ceremony to receive my award.  Unlike what I would’ve expected, I felt uncomfortable in the spotlight.  I first had to be introduced and walk alone down a red carpet into a room full of people clapping.  What I pictured myself doing was one of those funny entrances that people make at weddings these days by dancing into the room, down the aisle, and up to the stage.  What I did was look straight ahead, smile nervously, and walk fast to the front of the room.  I then quickly went back to my seat to recover my sense of security and blend back into the crowd.  I took note of my lack of self-confidence and nervousness.  I was somewhat surprised and that was only the beginning.  When it came to the presentation of awards, I waited nervously while I watched the seven other people in front of me receive their awards.  They walked on stage, had their picture taken with the presenter, and stood in the background while one of their co-workers spoke about what made them so deserving of the award.  As each one went by, my nerves increased.  By the time my name was called I was almost in panic mode.  I felt like I was transported back to an emotional age of thirty years younger.  Where did my 50+ year-old, confident, mature self go?  Wordly has left the building.

I recovered from that five minute moment (which felt like eternity) and the rest of the day was easy.  I tried to resume my “normal” life the next day.  When I arrived at work, I was greeted by more praise and recognition from my co-workers.  Apparently, I hadn’t gotten what I needed in order to move past this lesson.  They greeted me with smiles and words of congratulations throughout the morning.  It seemed that everyone was aware of this award.  I had no idea it was such a big deal.  In my determination to minimize the whole thing and ward off my discomfort with the attention, I told myself that it was only important to me and a few of my friends who attended the ceremony.  I never realized that so many people would be so kind,supportive, and proud of me.  It was an incredibly humbling experience and I want to thank everyone for believing in me and seeing something that I don’t often recognize in myself.

My week ended with The Walk to End Alzheimer’s which I have been working on as a committee member for many months now.  In addition to my committee work, my work team has been actively raising funds for this event throughout the entire year.  I arrived early Saturday morning to set up the event and it never ceases to amaze me how many of my co-workers show up to give their time and show support for this important cause.  We all have busy lives and many have families with children who have other demands on their time, but they were there anyway.  I am so impressed with everyone who was there to help this year.  The saying, “Many hands makes light work” was proved true that day.  Thank you everyone.  You are the reason that this work gets done.

This week I learned that I need to do more work on what I believe about myself.  We all have underlying, limiting beliefs about ourselves.  These beliefs come from a lifetime of what others tell you about yourself.  In The Four Agreements, Companion Book, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “You perceive all the distorted images others create for you, and at a certain point you take all these images and try to make sense of them.  You create another whole image of yourself, and project it to the outside world…”  He goes on to say, “In the same way other people project their beliefs onto you, you agree, and they become yours.  They teach you to judge the way they judge, to gossip the way they gossip, to create dramas the way they create dramas.”  This week I heard things, like, “Don’t be too big for your britches” and “It’s better to give than receive”.  These were messages that were inserted into my mind via society and other influences in my younger life.  The latter message is one I see so many struggle with.  When did it become wrong to receive something good from someone without feeling guilty or undeserving?  Try it sometime.  Randomly give something to someone and watch their reaction.  Compliments are frequently met with a self-deprecating retort and gift giving can cause people to squirm uncomfortably or feel like they have to reciprocate.

What are your beliefs about giving and receiving?  Does one come more easily to you than the other?  Practice the one that makes you uncomfortable and listen to the messages you tell yourself about that action.  As always, I am surprised by the depth of these messages.  As I uncover one, I notice others beneath it.  Continue to do this work and you will be free to live as you were meant to live and bring the gift of who you are to the world.  Thank you for reading my words.

Yours in gratitude,



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