The Marketing Like a Human program ended this past weekend. Part of that final discussion was about how receiving is a critical step in sustaining our vitality in life and businesses, as well as balance in our relationships.


Receiving vs Gratitude

Truth is, most of us are pretty bad at receiving. We don’t easily receive compliments, deflecting quickly instead of letting kind words soak in. We don’t even fully receive the beautiful flavors of our food, the warmth of our showers, or the uplift of our favorite music.

While some of us may have gratitude journals, we are less practiced with actually experiencing the depth of the gifts we are given every day. The gratitude we name in our journals may be more of a cognitive exercise than a wonderful swell of well-being in response to a gift. In addition, gratitude is not always easily accessible when we feel isolated and afraid. As a boss, I struggled with finding gratitude for my employees, customers, or even my business when I was personally in struggle. And to add insult to injury, I felt guilty for not being grateful.

What if we let go of gratitude as the thing to do and start practicing receiving.

We can always receive, regardless of how hard the day is. We can always experience what is present and that is always nurturing to us and our relationships.


Marie Kondo and the Art of Receiving

Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix is a huge success, inspiring tons of people to de-clutter their homes. Marie is an organization teacher, but what is so distinct about her teaching is her focus not on the stuff, but on our internal experience of the stuff.

Experience as Receiving

First, she encourages people to experience the magnitude of what they have by piling all your clothes or books or shoes in one pile. In the show, it’s always a lot. Then starting from the pile, she teaches people to consider carefully each individual item to see if it “sparks joy.”

In the language we’re using here, I would say that she is inviting us to truly receive and experience our stuff, as a whole and then individually. What happens is that when people actually receive what they have, they are happier with less, more calm, and a sense of control over their lives. Plus, the show and Marie are just charming.

Receiving – A Couple Practices

Receiving can feel very difficult, particularly in relationships with other people. So, instead of starting with relationships, we can practice in private.

Feel Things
Simply practice feeling the immediate, sensual experiences of your life. You can pick a couple things to be more aware of, such as what it feels like to be in the shower, or getting under the covers at night. Pick your favorite things and pay more attention to them. Give yourself the gift of really feeling these wonderful things that are already present.

Netflix Time
Watch an episode of Tidying Up and see how Marie Kondo teaches people to interact with their homes and things. What do you notice about your response? Are you inspired? Irritated? Amused? Your response is likely telling you something about how you receive the items in your life. What do you think that is?