Programmed (Not) to Receive

Thoughts on why some people refuse the help of others and the effects on would-be helpers


Apologies to the Eagles for coopting this line from Hotel California and taking poetic license with it on top….


Difficulty with Accepting Help

I’d promised to write about the difficulty many (some would say most) people have with receiving vs. giving and something about this concept has been wriggling around in the back of my mind so here it is….it’s all about CONTROL. 

“People are uncomfortable with, or out-and-out refuse help because they want to CONTROL things. ”  You may quote me….

The Problem with Refusing Help

Why should it matter to the rest of us that people we could and would otherwise help refuse to ask us for our help and refuse that help if we offer it?  It matters because it’s in our human nature to want to be of service.  Helping others brings about blessings on the giver.  The denial of an offer of help is the denial of the opportunity for someone else to receive grace.

And if that’s not a compelling enough reason, here’s another.  There comes a point, maybe several points over the course, in a person’s life when he or she is not in a position to negotiate a n y t h i n g.  It’s at those times when you’re willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously LEAVING IT IN GOD’S HANDS.  To be clear, whether or not you personally believe in God you are by default, leaving it in His hands when you’re in a position of powerlessness.  Because there IS a God.  Period.

Problem for Would-Be Helpers

The ones surrounding a person in need of, but refusing, help are put in a powerless position as well.  We can see with our eyes and hear with our ears and just know from experience (and rational thinking) that someone needs help but they won’t acknowledge it, definitely aren’t asking for it, and vehemently refuse it when it’s offered.

In addition to the frustration that comes along with being put in this position there’s a level of anxiety that comes from knowing that when (not if, but when) things become critical or disaster strikes you’re on the hook for cleaning up the mess.  AND, not only cleaning up the mess but having to do so within a tight schedule and with limited resources.  Often the rescue is so much more costly, time-consuming, possibly heart-wrenching, and definitely a pain in the ass than giving the help would have been…think about it help-refusers.  This puts you in the unattractive position of being SELFISH when here you thought you were avoiding putting someone else out.  It’s true.

Advice for Some Would-Be Helpers

You too need to learn to leave it in God’s hands and this is vastly more difficult than it sounds, yet it’s absolutely essential.  Carrying around the responsibility for changing someone who refuses to change or refuses to be helped is robbing you of your own life.  Let me repeat that–If you spend all of your waking hours including staying up all night worrying about someone else you are sabotaging your own life.  You need to do the best you can then Let It Go.  To paraphrase an Al-Anon Recovery Slogan, “You can’t.  God Can.  Let Him.**with compliments to Lee Self, Keynote Speaker at the DC High Tech Prayer Breakfast.  You’ll be hearing more from me about this annual event.

May God Bless You!

Let All You Do


::Teaser Alert::

On special request I’ll be continuing along the same lines of giving, receiving, gratitude, appreciation, and related topics tomorrow with….

Why is it so difficult for some people to receive from others?

Giving vs. Receiving

The holiday season is upon us once again.  Hearing “I can’t believe next week is Thanksgiving” has become as routine as “Is it hot enough for ya?”  As I wrote last year, the holiday season was different from any other I’d experienced in my adult life — very emotional, and special nonetheless.

Over the weekend I was part of a conversation about whether it’s better to give than to receive and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here.

Is it better to give than to receive?

Of course!

Why is it better to give than to receive?

This is a deep question and by that I mean that it can be answered from a number of different perspectives….spiritual, health, overall happiness, etc.  

So I repeat:  Why is it better to give than to receive?

Because Jesus said so.  And for some of us that’s all we need, right?  But seriously, that doesn’t make for a robust discussion on this topic so just to clarify what He actually said–

In Acts 20:35 Jesus said:  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Then the question becomes this “Is being more blessed better than receiving, receiving what?  Let’s just say better than receiving anything at all.

Blessed adjective [bles-id; or blest] – the definition in this context is something like…..

divinely or supremely favored; fortunate, blissfully happy or contented; bringing happiness and thankfulness

As for me, I would prefer to be blissfully happy by giving than to be pleased with something I received. But this opens up another whole subject and that is GRATITUDE because when we RECEIVE something we sorely need there is a certain feeling about that as well….that’s where the bringing happiness and thankfulness comes in.

So in essence, it’s better (because it’s more blessed) to be blissfully happy or contented from being the giver than to experience happiness and thankfulness from receiving?  I’m only further convincing myself that yes it IS better to give than to receive.

But seriously, enough about Jesus, WHY?

It’s better to give than to receive because giving builds social connections and strengthens existing ones. There are many things written about giving, as in of oneself by volunteering, being healthy–and that gets into some deeper study and findings, (told ya this was a deep one) but to keep it simple, I like the following…

The Dalai Lama observes that happiness does not come from material things but rather from a deep, genuine concern for others’ happiness. In fact, the Dalai Lama contends that focusing on one’s own needs instead of others’ results in negative emotions that prevent true and lasting happiness for the self.

I agree with the Dalai Lama!

Are you happier when you give or when you receive?


Can’t Give It Away

On Following Up

For those of you who are salespeople, marketers, networkers –anyone trying to get others interested in what you’re selling or promoting or maybe a charity you’re supporting you know about the need to make contact and then follow up.  Many have written on this topic and it’s not my attention here to add to that body of work here but you know me, I like to share my experiences.

What I Was Giving Away

Food.  Not a free lunch, a free dinner.  My family’s been getting Hello Fresh for 3 weeks now and had the opportunity to give away a free meal to 4 friends so they could try it.  The names and email addresses were submitted at the start of this week and as of the end of the week no one had claimed their meal.

And the Point Is

No the point isn’t that I have a bunch of ungrateful, unappreciative friends.  Actually, it turns out that they probably never got the email.  The point is that it just made me think that we’re all so busy that often we don’t get to the things that we’re actually interested in and wanting to do.  Think about how many things pass before your eyes or through your fingers that you mean to address at the next possible opportunity–and never get around to it.

What I’m Trying To Say

My point is to suggest that many of us (me included and I remind myself often) need to take periodic time outs to breathe.  And then after we breathe we can take just 15 minutes and get one or more little things that we’ve been meaning to attend to, take care of, clear out, drop off, put in the mail–DONE.  How many of those things do you have hanging around?  What would it feel like to get one or more checked off this list?  I know I feel a little bit liberated, a bit more unencumbered, back in charge.

Back to the Sales Reference

The initial connection I made about this was that often we who are selling, promoting, soliciting have to talk ourselves into following up because we don’t want to appear pushy or imposing.  My point is that the threshold for being pushing or imposing on others is often much higher than we’re imagining or, in my own case, overthinking it.

I guess it all comes back to the concept of being present, being in the moment and just reaching out to follow up, getting a few little things done, or simply giving away a little kindness each day.

What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear from you, even if you’re just curious about our Hello Fresh experience!

And for those who enjoy a musical association with a topic I give you the RHCP

Today is the First Day

Have you thought lately about where your life’s going? How’s that looking for you? Haven’t thought about it? Here’s something to get you started….

What is this thing called L….I…..F……E?

Sometimes it’s fun to do a word association by making note of anything that pops into your head with a particular word or version of a particular word.  Like this–

Get a life!

Live your life!

You only get 1 life to live!

Change your life!

Reform your life!

Transform your life!

Save a life!

Give the gift of life!

Life begins at conception.

What Does It Mean?

And then you ask yourself, “What does it all mean, this thing called life? Can I really make a difference in anyone’s life?  in my own life?  Why am I not doing it?  Am I afraid to try?  What am I really afraid of?  What’s my true life purpose?  Wait, I hear a tiny voice that’s getting louder and LOUDER, and it’s saying,

“Look for the answer WITHIN yourself!”

Just Keep Swimming!

Wow–I’ve been scared, frightened to death really–positively CLUELESS abut why I haven’t been doing  the things I KNOW I NEED to get where I want to go.  Anyone else feel that way?  Now or in the past?  It scares you even more when you get as far as realizing you’re in the grip of something but you haven’t yet identified it.

What is this something?  Is it depression?  Mid-life crisis? An epiphany in the making?

What I think is that it’s a mixture of these and other things that’s unique to each person experiencing it.  So what happens on breakthrough day?  Does it suddenly become easier?

No, it doesn’t.  It’s not like that; not like flipping a switch.  What it does mean is that you’ve been pushing further each day and you’ve finally taken yourself just far enough out of “it” to find firm footing on THE OTHER SIDE OF IT. So now what?

Here’s What

  1. Believe all the good stuff–the positive affirmations, motivational speeches, guided meditations, all of it!
  2. Believe in YOURSELF!

  3. Go For It!


  5. Yes, you DO!

Won’t you please leave some comments to let us all know where you are and how it’s all turning out?