Civility and manners,  Friendship and relationship advice


“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart.” ~Brene Brown

We often talk about the value of generosity. And a lot has been written about “the law of abundance,” which suggests that what you get back is commensurate with how much you’ve been giving. In short, takers don’t get as much as givers. Frugality and thrift have their merits, but a generous spirit is rewarded with a bigger slice of life.

We don’t talk as much about receiving. This is where things can get tricky. For example, you might feel embarrassed if someone buys you a wonderful gift or does a great favor. You might feel obligated or stressed over how to reciprocate. Or, worse yet, you might take the gift for granted — without fully appreciating the kindness and feelings of the giver. Both instances show a lack of heart (or maybe a lack of good manners).

As Brene Brown reminds us, the act of receiving with grace also teaches us how to give sincerely and with love. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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