Forget What You Give. Remember What You Receive.

I am not sure of the source of this quote. But it’s a very wise one regardless. (If anyone knows, please let me know.)

“Forget what you give. Remember what you receive.”

There’s a lot of wisdom there.

I confess that I don’t always forget what I give. There have been plenty of times that I remember giving something to someone (or a group) and noticing when I didn’t get thanked. In fact, one time years ago at a former workplace, I’d gotten frustrated for not being recognize for a project I’d done–ironically to show appreciation to a particular department.

One of my bosses (who confessed he’d experienced similar struggles) approached me to talk about this tendency I had. I’m glad he did. It was a helpful exhortation which turned me toward a philosophy of not tracking the expressions of recognition I thought I “should” receive. That makes any acknowledgment I may get even more fun!

Here are some ways we forget to “forget what we give.” We tend to remember:
  • the thank you note we never received for the wedding/birthday/holiday gift we gave;

  • the favor our coworker doesn’t seem to want to return after “all we for her when she was swamped with her project;”

  • the lack of a raise or bonus despite all our efforts at work (especially when others seem to get them.)

What would it be like to give something and then put it out of our mind?
  • We could enjoy the “thank you’s” that do come as blessings in an of themselves, not the completion of a checklist we have in our minds regarding how someone else should acknowledge us;

  • We could be surprised by a “return favor” instead of expecting one;

  • We could appreciate the richness we live in each day rather than the dollars we don’t have;
  • We could unclutter our mind from carrying around thoughts of what people owe us.

That leads to the second part: remember what you receive.

How grateful are you for what you receive on a daily basis? Do you focus on noticing your abundant blessings? Here are some ways we can remember the right things:
  • When we experience an inconvenience, be thankful that it was simply that. (Many people are suffering far worse.)

  • Make a point to notice at least one small “love note” a day that you receive from God, friends, coworkers (for example, that coffee someone brought you.)

  • Graciously thank someone who has done a kindness for you recently. Send an email, text, or note or make a phone call. Better yet, thank them just for being your friend!

  • Receive well the kindnesses that others show you. For example, I’ve learned not to say, “You don’t need to do that” when someone offers me a gift (i.e. picking up my tab.) Instead, I’m learning to say, “Thank you for doing that” or “I accept with appreciation!” This also applies to accepting compliments with grace. Please don’t diminish the opinion of others by telling them they shouldn’t have complimented you!

You received without paying; give without pay.  Matthew 10:8b  

Try remembering and forgetting the right things. You may find yourself a little less overwhelmed!

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Beth Beutler is the Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, a small business offering collaborative virtual assistance and business soft skill education to Help Overwhelmed Professionals Excel. She has over 25 years experience in administrative assistance and office management, soft skills training, and writing.