I’ll bet money or love or whatever else you’ve got handy that you have at least one friend like this: No matter what you try to give her, she’ll refuse it. Or accept it so reluctantly that you wish you’d never listened to that heart part that said What a perfect present for Grinchette! You’re left wondering if you picked the wrong book/scarf/compliment or offered a dinner at a restaurant she secretly hates. Or if you just don’t know your friend all that well.
News flash: It’s not about you–it’s about her. (Or could be a him. Although guys don’t seem to fall into this category as often.) It’s about your friend’s feelings of unworthiness.
You: Nice dress. She: This old thing? Should have gone to the ragbag years ago. (She bought it last month.)
You: It’s my turn to treat. She: (forcing MasterCard on waiter) Oh, no, let me.
You: You’ll love this book! She: Oh, darn! I gave up reading for Lent.
Yet your friend insists on treating you to lunch, to a new movie, to whatever, leaving you feeling like a leech. You can suck it up or drop her like a stinky shoe. Neither choice feels very good.
Note well, all you readers who just can’t take it gracefully: There can be no gift without a receiver! Every time you deny someone the pleasure of gifting you, you’ve basically told him (or her) that you’re not worth the trouble.
It took me years–years!–to be able to accept praise in any form, to gracefully say, “Thank you so much!” to whatever someone offered me, and when I did finally accept that I was worth it my life expanded, as did the lives of the ones gifting me with time, kudos, and Michael Bublé CDs.
The circle of giving was complete. And so were we.