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I was holding a table for my husband while he was standing in line waiting to get us some breakfast. My husband asked the man behind him if he could buy him a coffee (we like to buy the person in line behind us their items sometimes as a random act of kindness). The man refused my husband’s offer. It is the first time we have ever had anyone refuse our offer to buy them their coffee, groceries, meal, etc.

I think the man misinterpreted my husband’s generosity as something else.  Maybe the man doesn’t trust strangers. Maybe he thought my husband was interested in him. There are many possibilities. The point is, we were unable to give and someone else was unable to receive.

This is the time of year that people like to give. Giving gives most of us a good feeling. We feel as if we have opened up a little and shared what we can sometimes hold on to tightly to. Giving can bring a smile to our faces and a lightness to our hearts.

There are those people that never seem to let others give to them though. They are like the man at the coffee shop – they refuse. It is not only important to learn to give but it is also important to learn to receive. Receiving from someone else is a two way gift – the person giving feels good, and you can feel noticed, appreciated, loved, etc.

I’m not talking about gifts that come with conditions. I am talking about someone giving you a gift, because they are feeling generous, loving, kind. There are no expectations associated with the type of giving I am referring to.

I know people like the man at the coffee shop who are unable to receive. For whatever reason, they always refuse an offer of help, an offer to pick up the tab, a gift of any kind. This can be difficult for the people who truly enjoy giving to others.

It is important to be both a giver and a receiver in relationships. If you are all giver and never receiver, the other person will feel as if they can’t do anything special for you. If you are all receiver and never giver, the person will feel as if you are selfish.

This holiday season I hope that someone in a coffee shop or in a grocery store or restaurant offers to pick up your bill and I hope that you graciously and willingly accept knowing that something wonderful has happened to you, and you have allowed someone else the joy of giving. These little things can make the world a better place, and all of us can be a part of it.