On the receiving end

‘Tis the season for giving. This is something that most women do all year. Give of ourselves, our time, our nurturing, our love, our bodies, and in some cases, our money. The beneficiaries of all of this giving are typically our mates, spouses and/or children. However, there seems to be an inability to receive graciously in the same fashion from these very people.

Why is it in our psyche to brush off any benevolent gestures in our direction? Even in its simplest form: A compliment. For instance, why is it when someone compliments I’ve noticed that even the most headstrong and independent women that I know will put their significant others’ needs before their own me on my appearance, I feel compelled to tell that person that I could stand to lose five more pounds, thus invalidating the initial compliment. It doesn’t make me feel any better having done so, and I’m sure that the person giving the compliment feels rebuffed. It’s all done with smiles on our faces, but it’s empty, pointless.

When someone sends us flowers or gives us a gift, why is it that after we say “thank you,” it’s followed with, “you shouldn’t have.” The person giving the gift or sending those flowers put a lot of thought into that act. Again, that statement eradicates the motivation behind this wonderful gesture, and should be stricken from our repertoire. If a someone wants to send us flowers or buy us a gift, the last thing we should do is discourage them.

This seems to parlay into different facets of our lives, even though we don’t realize it. I’ve noticed that even the most headstrong and independent women that I know will put their significant others’ needs before their own on a regular basis. The reverse situation seems to be more of an exception than a rule. Are we not expecting the same consideration from our mates, or are men discouraged from engaging in good old-fashioned chivalry?

In an extreme case, a friend of mine was dating a “taker.” You could even call it “emotional blackmail.” She would cower to her boyfriend’s sexual “needs” so that she would feel a sense of being accepted. However, according to her, that was as far as it went. There was no reciprocation or even an inquisition as to what her needs were.

After they broke up, he would still call her for sex, and in the beginning she would succumb to his requests. But after awhile, I could see a change in her self esteem, which was rapidly diminishing. She was giving, giving, giving — but was getting little or nothing in return. It took a life-changing event to illustrate to her that this was destructive behavior on her part. She needed to realize that she, too, was entitled to be on the receiving end in a relationship.

I’m happy to say that she’s learned to say “no” to this loser now. She has embarked on that glorious search for someone that will “complement” her — and I mean that in the sense of being compatible as well as someone who will shower her with compliments.

Believe it or not, most people out there actually do understand the dynamic of give and take in any relationship. We just need to be more aware of it in our own little fishbowls, as well as when we’re out in our everyday world. Have enough faith in yourself to accept compliments, gifts and gestures gracefully. Allowing the giver to know that they’ve made you feel good is one of the best gifts of all.

Andrea See all posts by Andrea
is a BADASSCHICK Magazine™ contributor
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