Episode 72 Giving And Receiving Gratitude (1)

Giving and Receiving Gratitude – lessons on gratitude from my mentors: Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

This is not just another podcast on why you should be grateful! This podcast presents ideas from the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife.

You will see how cultivating a grateful heart creates joy in your life and puts more joy and happiness into the world. These ideas come from The Book of Joy

I talk about what I’ve learned from Dr. Fife as I have been taking one of her courses. This includes what true giving and receiving look like and how bad we are each of them.  

True giving takes yourself and others into account and what it really needed. It is different than service. 

True receiving is allowing ourselves to be influenced by another person. Not allowing ourselves to receive from others is a prideful position and keeps us from expanding ourselves and the goodness in the world. 

Listen to this episode to find out more. 

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Full Transcript

Happy Thanksgiving today. If you’re listening to this episode on the day that it drops, it’s been released on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re not listening to this on Thanksgiving day than just happy day, whatever day it is for you. And if you’re listening outside the US, which I know some of you are, happy day also because you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving like we do in the US. I’m just glad that you’re here. The reason I’m focusing on gratitude this week is because of Thanksgiving, because of course, it’s the perfect week to focus on gratitude.

Now I’m going to present some ideas today that maybe you haven’t heard before giving and receiving gratitude. These are ideas from three of my mentors, Jennifer Finlayson Phife, the Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu. Jennifer Finlayson five has been on the podcast with me. In fact, we did episodes 18 and 19. Together that was in 2021. Excellent episodes, she is always amazing to listen to, if you want to go back and listen to more of her, I suggest going back to those episodes and picking those up.

And I also mentioned dealt the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu on the podcast in Episode 24, which is also in 2021.

And we talked about joy and finding gratitude. I talked about their book that was so influential on me last year, which was the Book of Joy. And they wrote that together Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu, and I’m going to present ideas from each of them today. Some of these things might be new to you, and some might not. And I think you’re really going to find this fascinating, I’ve been taking one of Jennifer Finlayson five courses. And I have learned so much from her. And I want to share some of her ideas on giving and receiving and how that factors into gratitude.

I also will be teaching a class in the new year. And this class will focus on parents, it’s Parenting from the inside out. So stay tuned for that class, I’ll have more coming up. So stay tuned. I don’t have the details to release to you yet, but it will be coming very soon.

Now, I do have one coaching spot open as of the day that I’m recording this, which is in November, I work with my clients for six months at a time. And I know that I’m not going to have another coaching spot open until probably late February. So if you are wanting to get coached, if you are wanting to sign up with me, I urge you to sign up for that $25 call where we can get to know each other and we can see if we’re a good fit to work together. If you’re listening to this and all those spots are gone, you can still sign up for one of those calls. And you can join the waitlist to be able to become a client when I have a spot that opens up. But I urge you to not wait and just to get on the list and to sign up with one of those calls for me.

Now let’s get into the meat of the podcast. today. I’m going to read some things from the book of joy to you that I really took away as being pivotal in our ability to experience gratitude, and how we experience it. The first one is this.

“Neither the archbishop nor the Dalai Lama spend a great deal of time talking about enjoyment, perhaps because both of their traditions are skeptical of finding lasting happiness through sensual indulgence. But I have been happy to find that neither of them was opposed to the pleasures permitted in their spiritual lives. Whether Tibetan rice pudding, or rum raisin ice cream, gratitude is the elevation of enjoyment, the ennobling of enjoyment. Gratitude is one of the key dimensions in the definition of joy.

Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life. And all that has made it possible to have the life that we have and the moment that we are experiencing.

Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and maybe the only way to savor it. both Christian and Buddhist traditions, perhaps all spiritual traditions recognize the importance of gratefulness. It allows us to shift our perspective as the Dalai Lama and the archbishop counseled toward all we have been given and all that we have. It moves us away from the narrow minded focus on fault and lack and to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance.

“When you are grateful, you are not fearful. And when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people.

“A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people a grateful world is a happy world.” This is a quote by brother Steindl-Rast.

“Scientists have long known that our brains have evolved with a negative bias. It was no doubt advantageous for survival to focus on what was wrong or dangerous. Gratitude cuts across this default mode of the mind. It allows us to see what is good and right and not just what is bad and wrong. Perhaps because of this bias, people are often skeptical of gratitude, and wonder if it’s a naive point of view, or will lead to a complacency or even injustice. If we are grateful for what is will we be less likely to work for what still needs to be if the Dalai Lama is able to find things in his exile that he is grateful for? Will he be less willing to stand up for the Chinese occupation of Tibet, grateful people do not seem to ignore or deny the negative aspects of life. They simply choose to appreciate what is positive as well. People with a strong disposition towards gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic, and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks. They are also more likely to have helped someone with a personal problem, or to have offered emotional support to others. And here’s a final quote from this book. Perhaps it’s no surprise that gratitude is a factor that seems to influence happiness, along with our ability to reframe negative events into positive ones. The final factor found was our ability to be kind and generous towards others, which the Dalai Lama and the archbishop saw is two separate but related pillars, compassion and generosity. When we recognize all the way have been given, it is our natural response to want to care for and give to others.”

I love these quotes. These have been very influential in my life. And I know from experiences in my own life, that our ability to reframe our negative events into positive ones, is a key in our own happiness, just like it outlines in this book.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I urge you to get it, it’s one of my favorites. Now let’s move on to some things I’ve learned from Jennifer Finlayson five. And these are ideas that probably will seem very new to most of you.

And first, I’m going to talk about giving. And she talks about how giving to manage people’s perception of you is not true giving.

She says giving your true self leaves yourself open to being hurt by others, when they don’t accept it, they don’t receive it the way that you want them to. But true giving becomes, it is who you feel like you want to be, rather than requiring the other person to receive it in the way that you want them to. It comes from this thought that the world is better for me having given this regardless of how it was received. And this is you adding more goodness into the world because it’s who you want to be.

And giving, real giving is actually different than service.

Giving is looking around to see what is really needed. And what will really help another person and being willing to do it because you believe it’s right for you to do it. It’s more inactive yourself.

The idea that we commonly have behind service is that it’s connected to selflessness that you are supposed to lose yourself to do things for others. And in a cultural way service is more of a knee jerk like we just have to give service we need to give always be giving service. And in a way it’s a show, how we establish that we’re good people that we are a good person, because we measure ourselves so often by this service that we’re giving.

But true giving is more connected to wisdom, to clarity, about doing things that may be hard that benefit the whole and true giving takes yourself, and what’s right for you into account, as well as what is best for others and what they truly need from you. And when you take into account what’s right for you, sometimes what’s going to be right for you to give is to yourself, and not to others. And that is creating more goodness in the world.

And so often, we aren’t truly giving, we show gratitude. And we want to manage other people’s perceptions of us. And we show gratitude. And we serve to manage our own perceptions of ourselves. As in, I’m a good person, because I’m grateful, and I serve others. But this is not true gratitude. And it’s not truly giving. It’s an attempt to validate ourselves and reassure ourselves that we are good, and hopefully be seen good as good in the eyes of other people, these ideas that I’m presenting from Jennifer might be a little hard to hear. I know that as I’ve been going through this course. And she talks about it with the people that are in the course with her because it’s a recording from a previous class that she’s taught that it really is challenging many of the ideas and beliefs that we’ve had about ourselves in, in our culture.

And she did this class, she gave this class that was recorded in Utah, and she asked the women, and this is a group of women, she said, who would rather give than receive, and 90% of them, raise their hand. And she said, who would rather receive than give, and there was the other 10%. And she said, You know, it’s really interesting. And Utah, when I come to Utah, that is very common, that it’s about 90/10. If I go like on the East Coast, it’s more about half and half. So it really is a cultural thing that we have here in the West.

And she said, receiving is really about allowing in to your life, what someone else is offering you, allowing yourself to take it in and to be influenced by it.

Many women think that it’s selfish to receive that we should only be giving, we should be giving, giving, giving all the time. And that’s what it means to be a good person if we’re always giving. And we have this idea that if I need something from you, that means that I’m not perfect. If you’re not familiar with braid, Brene Brown, she’s a she specializes in shame researching, actually, she discovered in her research with shame, that not being perfect is the number one shame trigger for women. So of course, if we think that by needing something from another person, that makes us not perfect.

That is a shameful thing for us. And so of course, that’s going to be something that we want to put up an idea of our of ourselves to others that I don’t need your help, go help somebody else. I’m good, everything’s good over here. I don’t need anything from anybody. Of course, that would be feeding into our ideas of, it’s better to not be receiving, because that means I am a better person.

But truly receiving from another person requires us to take a wall down. It leaves us in a more vulnerable position. We like the control of being the giver. Over the receiver, I want you to ask yourself right now when someone gives you a gift, does it make you uncomfortable?

I know for me for many years, I was uncomfortable every time someone gave me a gift with some people I as I took this class, I realized that with some people when they would give me a gift. It was almost like I refused to receive it to have any gratitude for it at all. Because I did not want that person to have any influence in my life.

Is there someone like that for you? Do you notice people like that that will refuse to receive no matter what you do or give to them? They refuse to receive? What about when someone gives you a compliment? Does that make you uncomfortable? Do you want to dismiss it or tell them all the ways that you don’t deserve it? Or just to discount it in some way? Maybe you want to tell them all the things that they’re wrong. All the ways that they’re wrong all about the these nice thoughts that they have about you. And this is like someone handing you a gift and you hand it right back and you say no thanks. That’s not good enough for me, I don’t like that. I don’t want it. I don’t like your gift.

When someone gives us a compliment, all we need to say is simply Thank you. Even if we’re working on believing the things that they said about us, the way that they complimented us, this is allowing ourselves to receive when we allow ourselves to receive compliments, without handing it back to them in some way.

And it’s increasing your capacity to be receiving. And it’s not invalidating their experience of you, which is the compliment that they gave to you. Because when we hands that compliment back, and we dismiss it, it’s like we’re saying, No, your experience of me is wrong. That’s not me.

And Jennifer says, the main two reasons that we refuse to receive from others are number one, we want the control, just like that perfectionist that I outlined just a second ago, we want the control of being poor, being perceived by ourselves and others as perfect and not needing help, or anything from anyone else. The second one is, we don’t believe that we are worthy to receive it. And when we had to compliment back to someone else, that’s exactly what we are saying, when we say oh, no, I don’t deserve that. No, that’s not me, your experience of me is not correct. We are saying to them, and to ourselves, I’m not worthy to receive this. And I’m going to give it back to you.

But actually receiving is essential to our own self development. Receiving goodness expands us and expands our self concept of who we are. Imagine if you received that compliment. And you didn’t feel you’re worthy of it. But you still said, simply Thank you. And you worked on allowing that compliment to sit there inside of you without handing it back to the other person.

Receiving is being willing to let the goodness being offered to you more fully bless you, and expand your heart. And when we do this, it elevates the goodness of what the other person offered. And it creates more goodness in the world, and in our life.

Think about when someone won’t receive from you. It’s a way of them saying I don’t want you to have influence on me.

Or I’m not worthy of this.

She gives a quote from Erich Fromm in his book of The Art of Loving, and she said:

“The trouble in the world is not that there is too little love. But there is too little willingness to receive the love that is available to us.”

I’m going to read that again because I really want you to let it set in.

“The trouble in the world is not that there is too little love. But there is too little willingness to receive the love available to us.”

How willing are you to receive the love that is available to you?

Receiving goodness is an act of humility, not humiliation. Humility is an act of strength. It’s really come from a coming from a position of strength, not weakness. Humility says, I matter. And you matter and I see the humanness in both of us. And that humble position right there creates strength.

The opposite of that is pride. Pride does not allow us to receive from others. It looks like a selfless needless, I give to you, I give and you take that position is a prideful position, and their self deception and being the person who doesn’t need anything from other people.

Receiving goodness is an act of self compassion, and self respect.

And self respect is something more that you do than more than something that you feel. We first act with self respect, and then we feel respect for ourselves. The actions come first, and the feelings come second. It’s respectful of others to receive from them. And it’s also an act of courage on our part. And as we receive goodness and love. We participate in creating goodness and love in the world. Receiving makes us less self centered. Because we recognize that the goodness that’s offered to us is not owed to us but it’s just freely given and allows us to become stronger for it and benefit from it. It allows us to recognize true goodness in the world and it expands our capacity to see and experience the goodness of the world. When you really allow yourself to receive the goodness that’s offered to you. You will then become more loving, productive and happy

It’s one of those secrets of happiness. And gratitude is a form of receiving.

It doesn’t take a lot of strength to have good things. Everybody knows someone who has a lot of things, and is not happy.

But it is a function of strength to receive and to acknowledge and be grateful for the good things in your life. That is a strength position.

Receiving is an important form of giving

The receiver and the received for someone else to really take in the positive impact that you have on their life, to really allow them to make a difference for you is such an act of kindness.

Truly receiving from another person tells them that they matter to you, that you are allowing them to make a difference and give goodness to your life. It’s very different than just taking the goodness that’s offered this acknowledgement and this thought of you are a blessing in my life, you bless my life. It’s a way of choosing this relationship on purpose. Whether it’s a marriage, or any other family relationship or friendship, to say you bless my life, and I’m willing to let you in and let you influence me. That is true receiving.

Here’s my takeaways for today. And maybe you have your own takeaways. This is what what my takeaways are. And I’ve recently recorded several episodes, on the pyramid of influence with Brent Bartel. And the Pyramid of Influence which is a Stephen R Covey concept and tool. And though this, there’s one really specific section that I see this, really applying to, and we talk about that in Episode 69, and 70. And that is allow yourself to be influenced by them first. When we allow ourselves to be influenced by another person, when we receive their love, when we receive information from them. When we let them teach us something, when we graciously accept a gift, or a compliment, all of these things reflect in you allowing yourself to be influenced by another person.

And that is a form of love in itself. As I’ve allowed myself to receive from others, especially my husband and my children, my relationship with them has increased exponentially. It’s been exponentially better. I see more goodness in them, and I see more goodness in myself, I see more goodness generally in the world around me. And in all the people now that I’ve allowed myself to truly receive from and not just give to.

That’s my first takeaway. Here’s my second takeaway. Many people have so much goodness in their family relationships that they don’t see because they’re not willing to receive.

They’re stuck and being a victim. Or being not working. Or being in a control position that prohibits them from receiving the goodness is offered to them. It’s like they have you guys have a wall up in front of you that says I can’t receive

either that’s going to release my control position in this relationship. Word that is going to challenge my view of who I am, I’m a giver. I’m not a taker.

I’m just not worthy to receive.

I see this every single day.

And I know that we can all be better givers and receivers, which is what I want to challenge you on this Thanksgiving Day and moving into this gift giving season that we have coming up with Christmas.

To practice receiving through gratitude. You were listening to this on Thanksgiving, when you might have a tradition of listing the things that you’re thankful for.

If you’re doing that, I really want you to yourself, to move into a place where you actually receive those things into your life. How have those things that you’re grateful for? How have they influenced and affected your life?

Are you allowing yourself to acknowledge to breathe it in?

To let that bring goodness into your life. Check in with yourself and see where you are.

If you’re not listening to this on Thanksgiving Day, do it on whatever day you are listening to this.

And while we’re talking about giving and receiving gratitude

I want you to know how thankful I am for you. I am thankful that you are downloading this podcast that you are listening to me I know there’s so many options, so many people that you have an option to go listen to. And I’m thankful that you are here listening to me. I’m thankful that you’re sharing it with other people that you are receiving the value that I am offering you through this platform.

Let’s share the goodness in the world this week. Let’s give and receive with grace and love.

Happy Thanksgiving to those that are in the US and to those that aren’t. Also, happy Thursday, or whatever day you’re listening to this podcast. I’ll see you next week.

If you’re wanting help applying the things you’re learning in this podcast into your family relationships, but you’re not sure if coaching is right for you. I have good news. I offer a one time coaching call for only $25 This is the perfect opportunity for you to experience coaching without the commitment or investment. This call looks like you and me having a conversation about how the tools I talk about in this podcast can work in your life. You’ll find a link to schedule your call in the show notes.