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Precious Uwisike: Receiving Wholeheartedly



Have you ever stopped to think that it is actually more difficult to receive than to give? Your initial reaction to getting a gift is excitement. It could be a compliment, a declaration of love and affection, a tangible thing. But in a micro-second, you start to hear a tiny voice nagging at you, wondering if you deserve it, or if you will ever be able to reciprocate…or if the giver really means it.

In a way, we create a mental prison where we do not feel free until we have reciprocated the act of kindness. Some of the arguments in our minds when we receive are; “You do not deserve it…,” “now you have to give something back…,” “you cannot afford this…” We do not realize that refusing to receive leaves us empty, rigid and creates a psychological hunger that is never quite satisfied.

Here is the secret; our giving attitude is aptly in line with our receiving attitude. Once your mind is at peace with giving without grudge or expecting something in return, we will not feel under pressure when we receive. My doctor friend, Osas, told me once that the office assistant at the hospital where he works goes all out to clean his room. He does not ask her to, he does not expect her to, but she does it anyway. He thinks it’s because he gives her money. According to him, he is just trying to be kind but she insists on cleaning for him and this makes him really uncomfortable. This is where many people get it confused. A business transaction (where you have to give something in return for something) is different from an act of kindness.

The first step to receiving wholeheartedly is to keep your heart open when giving. Put this to test; drop a N200 note in a public place—say at Balogun market, where there is so much foot traffic. Watch from a distance while observing your reaction as to who will pick the money. You may hope a homeless child finds it, or a security guard. You unconsciously frown at the thought of a fashionista alighting from her car to inspect the tyre and stumbling on the note. Your mind starts to ponder on worthiness and fairness. Whoever discovers and picks up the money, you have to let them be and be genuinely fine with it. This will be hard but the goal is to reach a point where you can be at peace with watching a bank executive get away with your 200 Naira. If your giving ability is weak, your receiving ability will most likely be weak.

Once you have learned to give with an open heart, it’s time to receive without sending yourself on a guilt trip. You can even try to accept your own gifts without apology—if you have gorgeous hair, glory in it. If your toe nails are beautiful, appreciate them. Until you can appreciate your gifts and not wonder if the world thinks you are full of yourself, you may keep struggling with receiving. I, personally, do not think I am as beautiful as people say. I cannot say “thank you” to a simple compliment of “you look good.” My response would be “really? Or I say “yimu,” and many times, my friend, Lolade, says I have to learn to just say thank you and appreciate compliments without reservation. I am working on it.

The truth is, once you have begun to accept your own inherent gift and are opened to giving without expecting something in return, then you are ready to receive a gift from someone else. Although you may start to struggle with acceptance, unworthiness, or you may be haunted by fear that you now owe the giver something enormous, snap out of it. Let your mind accept it completely. Consequently, you start to accept the love that motivated the gift in the first place. Once you have sharpened your ability to receive with an open heart, you will be a better judge of which gifts are authentic and which are Trojan horses.

When a gift comes with deceptive strings attached—if it is not really a gift but a disguised bribe, it will feel repulsive. You can either politely refuse or accept it without becoming vulnerable to exploitation. My advice; politely refuse. Whatever the genuine gift—a compliment, tangible or concrete—hold it in your mind and say a sincere “thank you” to the person (without thinking less of yourself), because whether you realize it or not, they just added to your basic worth and you deserve it.

Have you ever received and felt obligated to give back to the person? Do share your experience.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Manav Lohia 

Kevwe Uwisike is a Communications Specialist; a lover of words, PR Girl, Social Media Enthusiast and Content Developer. You may reach her via email on [email protected]


  1. Weather

    May 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I think I like this Precious girl. Her writing is kinda ‘clean.’ Just serene and deep. Ok, I give up on trying to describe it. Well done girl! I will come back to give a proper comment in a bit.

    • beautycee

      May 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      hahahhahahahaha! what stopped u from doing it now?

  2. @edDREAMZ

    May 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said..
    Am not gud at receiving bcos immediately i receive something frm yu my thought will be that yu will use it against me…..

    • Tosin

      May 21, 2015 at 7:19 am

      see what i mean? 🙂

  3. D

    May 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I enjoy giving, i derive immense pleasure from giving my brother claims it is a “gift” but i still discriminate when i give, I don’t see it has an indication of my giving ability being weak, the truth is the person in need is just that, they need it more or maybe i should say I derive immense pleasure from meeting needs as opposed to giving. I think that’s a better description.

  4. oludara

    May 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    ‘Doctor friend’ I am still on that part *wink* Its more blessed to give than receive…Its blessed also to receive…Just More blessed o give…I receive graciously now with ‘”oh, that’s so thoughtful of U.Very nice,really nice…thank you'” Presh baby..I love your articles always..U know shebi? lol .Success in all you do girl. . you rock!

  5. Fatimah

    May 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    A gift means I gotta find a way 2 return d favour – that used 2 be me, those days are long gone or still going

  6. Tosin

    May 21, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I learned something major here. Thank you.

    Backstory: no money today but been planning for a few days to give a little surprise but also sooo worried that it would be embarrassing because unexpected and so i was like “or should i make it anonymous” but that wouldn’t do because i want not only to have the gift enjoyed but to get some ‘like’ from it, so i was like maybe tone it down make it less weird and then i read this. i guess it means that i don’t trust the receiver to just like the gift and not overcalculate what my motives are. which you could say is my fault if i’m wrong. or my correct intuition.

  7. Chinma Eke

    May 21, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I like both sides, giving and receiving. I’m someone who has received so much grace, favor, I just want to reciprocate. Every day, I pray that God gives me the opportunity to help another. I still receive, and I give, and I find both equally rewarding.
    My family is big on giving gifts, we sometimes joke that in a given year, each person’s gift should cancel out the other, ie; my birthday gift to my sis can cancel out hers to me, and we could just buy ourselves gifts instead. No o! we don’t do that, we treat each celebration differently, and give gifts accordingly.

  8. Weather

    May 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Yh, I’m back. Had to leave this page on my computer. I actually have the mentality that once you receive, you have to give back something because truth be told, many givers want something in return. So the cycle goes. Only few people give genuinely. Imma learn this new own,. Give openly and receive openly. Kudos to the writer.

  9. icontola omoade

    May 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I use to think like you but i now reason differently
    In my view, the problem is not with the receiver of the gift but the giver, people are consciously or unconsciously expecting something back when they give that when you do not pay back they get disappointed. I can not say i have not done it few times too.
    There was a time i got a gift from someone i asked if there was an ulterior motive behind that, he said no. I accepted it, he asked me out after a while, when i did not accept him, i felt bad because of the gift i got from him and that did not stop him from telling people how magnanimous he was for not calling his token back.
    To receive freely is to believe that every body reasons the way you do and that gifts are not “bribes” in most cases they are, Even when they are not, there is a yoruba adage that says “ti enu ba je, o ju a ti’ meaning when you receive from someone it is nearly impossible to misbehave or reject the persons request. i dont think i translated that right.
    Me, what i do is when recieve from someone i try to give back too when i can, at least that wont hurt nobody then the futile attempt to fight against human nature and to believe that person is one of the few that do not expect something back.
    Nice article by the way…

  10. thehermit

    May 21, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Very educative! I learned a lot. Nice one Precious!

  11. Lolo

    May 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Lol. Nice article. But please how does this pix relate with d article?

  12. Oluwanitemi

    May 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Well done girl.
    I find myself giving a lot and getting uncomfortable when receiving. I think I always feel like someone’s is giving me stuff because I have given them earlier or they expect me to give in the future…that kind of giving doesn’t just feel clean to me.
    I don’t usually experience the feeling of having to give back once I have received something but sometimes, I feel like I have to. I honestly feel that giving is way beyond the exchange of the physical material, it extends to the attitude of the receiver. I have had several persons say things like”you didn’t have to” or “was it not expensive” and the very annoying “why did you buy it?”,unfortunately, they end up saying thank you. What good is that thank you?
    Giving is always a sacrifice but I agree with you that receiving (doing it right) is most essential.

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