What Mel Did
What Mel Did - Giving disguised as receiving

Giving disguised as receiving

I love to gift, surprise people or give of my time where that is possible. What I’m not so shiny at is receiving gifts or kindness from other people. If Freud lived next door, he would no doubt attribute this bad habit to one of not feeling worthy of receiving. The “Who do you think you are?” syndrome. And he might well be right.

But recently, I have been in the unfortunate (and fortunate) position of having to receive kindness and help. Lots of it. And, actually, when I gave in to receiving this help it was, well, quite nice. Being a capable sort of human being, I don’t often experience the relief of letting someone else take charge and make decisions. My twin sister looked after me and did just that during a bout of illness – and it was humbling in its sincerity. There are no words enough to thank her for what she gave me, including realising the selfishness of not allowing people to be as magnanimous as I like to be.

Now that I am in the recovery phase and able to see people again, several of them have said “I wish you’d given me the opportunity to help you.” Prior to my sister giving me the gift of her time, I would have waved away the sentiment as not necessary.

This is my muse today since I received a wonderful bouquet of unexpected flowers from a friend… and I bit off the words “You shouldn’t have,” before they made it outside of my mouth.



  • I completely get this. It’s much easier to give than to receive. A boyfriend many moons ago taught me to just say thank you to a compliment. Next lesson is not to feel guilty when someone gives me a gift. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to actually ask for help. I hope I’ll not be in a position to find out.

    • Or that thing where someone compliments us on something we’re wearing and we practically tell them we found the clothes in a dumpster! You’re right, a simple “Thank you,” is the way to go.

      • That’s so true. However, I was recently told by a friend that no way did I look my age, to which I responded with some quip about the opticians, as you do. False modesty got in the way of my graciously accepting her compliment. I say false, because I’m 60 and I think I really don’t look a day over 55 but I can’t say that can I?!!

    • I think you may be right, Louise. I do have a vivid memory of marvelling at how my mother managed to run a house, work and raise 7 children and a husband – without much help.

  • […] This is not to say I do not recognise when help and support is necessary and needed. Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes I don’t recognise I need help. Like when I was seriously ill and was proposing to get myself from the hospital and settled at home. My twin sister had different ideas and took all that decision-making nonsense out of my hands. And thank the Lord she did. (Giving Disguised as Receiving). […]

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