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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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Giving generously and receiving gratefully is a simple recipe for living happily with others. If everyone did those two things, we would live in a very peaceful world, indeed.  Yet, why do we have such difficulty accomplishing that in our relationships?

Let me start with the idea of giving generously. I think people are reluctant to be generous with others because they fear being used.  Unfortunately, that happens to anyone who gives to others.

My husband and I deal with this issue on occasion. We have certain family members who only contact us when they need money.  We typically oblige their requests, and we rarely receive a thank you.  Most people would say that under the circumstances, my husband and I are being used.  I suppose we are.

But when we give, we shouldn’t be giving for the purpose of getting gratitude or praise from the recipient. Rather, we should be giving in service to God.  A “thank you” from the recipient is merely icing on the cake.

Everything that we have, from our ability to wake up each morning to the money in our bank accounts, is a gift from God. In return, God asks us to use these gifts in service to others, whether it be by helping others with our time or with our resources.  So, when we give generously, we are doing so in obedience to Him.

The good news is that when we live our lives in obedience to God, our lives run more smoothly. If you are generous, yes, some people will use you.  And I can tell you that being used doesn’t feel very good.  But when I practice being generous, most of my relationships improve.  People feel like they can rely on me to help them, and that makes them feel cared for.  Moreover, it is empowering to be generous!  It is a good feeling to know that you have the ability to meaningfully help another human being.

The counterpart to giving generously is receiving gratefully. I truly believe that you cannot say “thank you” enough.  So often we get lazy about expressing gratitude.  In particular, if people do what is expected of them, we think that we don’t need to thank them for their efforts.

That is why husbands and wives sometimes feel unappreciated by their spouses. Similarly, parents can feel unappreciated by their children, and employees can feel unappreciated by their bosses.  Just because a task is part of someone’s job description, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t thank them for it.

Gratitude is the oil that smooths our relationships. A simple “thank you” prevents someone from feeling used or unappreciated.  And gratitude is a self-esteem booster for the recipient.  Words of appreciation make others feel good about themselves like nothing else.

For example, I cook quite a bit, and while I know when a meal has turned out well, it means so much when someone says “thank you” or compliments my efforts. The same holds true for when I play my flute in church.  It helps to hear a small word of appreciation.  In fact, a small word of thanks can make me feel great for days!

Moreover, it is good for us to say “thank you” because we regularly need to remind ourselves of how very lucky we are. I thank my husband all the time.  He constantly does little things to make my life better.  By thanking him, I remind myself of how lucky I am.

If you are looking for a secret solution to improve all your relationships today, I can give you one: Give generously and receive gratefully. I guarantee that if you start practicing that simple mantra, you will see a marked improvement in all your relationships.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

My book, The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother, is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.  If you purchase a copy, please consider writing a review.  I would be delighted to hear your feedback!

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