The Gift of Receiving

Date written: September 16th

Target Audience: students and/or people who find themselves taking on too much – can be teenagers and up

Possible place of publication: a communal newspaper of magazine

There are many great gifts this world has to offer, but one that I hope every reader has experienced is having a cat curl up on your lap. What sneaky creatures they are, crawling into your arms and nudging you with their soft furry heads, swishing their tail in front of your nose, making you sneeze, and effectively sitting down on your homework so you have no choice but to succumb to their cuteness and pamper them.

I think there is something important we can learn from these felines. When do humans grant themselves that kind of luxurious treatment?

Generosity and selflessness are certainly incredibly valued virtues, but at times I see them getting blurred to sacrifice or even martyrism, yet still thought to be perceived as good values. I agree that a person shouldn’t be selfish and demand too much, but you aren’t doing anyone any favors by refusing help when it would in fact be very helpful to you. Allowing yourself to accept help or gifts from others when they would be happy to give you them are not signs of egoism. If it would be a bother for the person offering than they shouldn’t be offering in the first place. In fact I would sooner characterize refusing anything as being egotistical, as you would just be trying to make a “humble” impression on everyone and thus neglecting what’s actually the best thing to do.

Of course we (at least if we want to appear sane) as humans can’t crawl into someone’s lap and demand to be stroked, but what I’m talking about is, for example, instead of pulling all-nighters to complete all your work; saying “no, it’s okay” when people offer to help; piling up too much work for yourself; ignoring your own marks in effort to try to help everyone else and then trying to get ahead just to be even more of a micromanager – instead of all that, give yourself a bit of a break and try NOT to run out of fuel before you collapse.

It is not humble or modest to deny yourself all needs and wants. You are then denying other people it too. It’s often said that giving is one of the best things we can do in this world – but I think what’s often omitted from this is that it requires some balance of the reciprocal too. After all, giving and receiving can only exist together. Someone must be on the other end with open arms for whatever you have to offer and both people benefit greatly by getting happiness from it. And lastly, we have to able to give ourselves a piece of joy in order to offer some of it to the rest of the world too.

Overworking only backfires, as does overdoing it in practically anything- it never ends up well. You may notice cats never have this problem. If you own a cat I suggest that every time it crawls into your lap you drop what you’re doing and spend some time paying attention to it. It may know better than you do.

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