Are you blocking someone else's blessings?

During one of the toughest financial times of my life, a friend handed me an envelope for my birthday filled with several hundred dollar bills. I was stunned at the touching, generous and unexpected gesture. Then I bawled. It was not the money but the thoughtfulness of the act that stirred me deeply. After a good cry, I returned the envelope. I was grateful but felt it was too much money and not necessary. But my friend would not have it. In fact, he became very upset. He sadly told me he simply wanted me to treat myself to something special. As soon as I refused his gift I wiped the beautiful smile he had on his face.

As I later recounted the story to my sister, she quickly admonished me--"don't ever block anyone's blessing, are you crazy?!"

The concept is simple: when someone gives you something it is their blessing not yours! The giver, not the recipient, is being blessed. We often think that it's the other way around. And while receiving is a bonafide blessing, it is also true that giving is a deeply profound experience. And now science -- if we need proof -- is backing that up. Giving it turns out is good for our health. New studies show that people report more happiness, stronger immune systems, lower stress levels when they give  rather than when they receive.

This idea that in refusing to accept a gift you are "robbing" someone of their joy or their good health allowed me to view receiving and giving from a very new perspective. I realize that I was not only blocking their blessings but impeding mine.

Throughout our day we offer ourselves to our friends, family, strangers, the planet in a myriad of ways --  open doors, greet strangers with a smile, lend a car to run an errand, let someone go first in line at the grocery story, pick up litter, give a compliment. These gestures are small offerings, blessings really and whey they come from the heart and not with any other agenda other than to give with love, it is like karma is being deposited in the karma bank. If you reject, turn down, or otherwise, pooh pooh an offering, you are messing with the karma gods. And we know karma is not to be messed with.

That same tough year turned out to be an extraordinary time for me and not because of finances. It was because of all the outpouring of love and generosity around me. With my new found perspective on giving and receiving, I was able to enjoy the abundance that was always a constant in my life and perhaps that I did not see. By not obstructing it,  I let the current flow. Friends, the intimate and the not so intimate blessed me with their love, support, contributions and sacred spaces. And it makes me happy to know that in receiving gracefully, I enhanced their lives in a small way.

Being mindful of never preventing a blessing that is offered to you will ensure the natural flow of nature and relationships. Receiving with grace is a life essential.


  1. I enjoyed your article. My mother raised my family with the same belief. She use to say that the more you give, then the more you shall receive and it's turned out to be true.

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  3. I have not found this teaching to be Biblical. It has, in fact, caused many problems in my family. I would like to know what verse, or verses, in the Bible this teaching comes from.