A loaf of bread and a lesson on ‘receiving’

A loaf of bread and a lesson on ‘receiving’

The other day a friend of mine, who is taking baby steps in baking, got me a freshly baked loaf of bread. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am exceptionally fortunate when it comes to friends.

I’d have been fine with a slice or two, but she insisted I keep the entire loaf, ‘I baked it specially for the children,’ said she. I felt a little awkward but she insisted. After a bit of a back and forth and a promise that she’d charge me for it I accepted, with a heartfelt thank you. ‘I hope the children enjoy it,’ she added giving me a hug.

We are all a little awkward when it comes to receiving, aren’t we? I know I am. It’s like an obligation which, I feel, I have to repay. That’s the way I was brought up. The idea was ‘If you cannot repay a favour, don’t accept it.’

I grew up meticulously keeping hisaab, refusing favours and always remembering to give back if I did accept something. Receiving made me uncomfortable, a little smaller, perhaps.

We talk of giving all the time and I’m all for it, but isn’t receiving an equally important aspect? There has to be a balance of come kind, I presume. After all there can be no giving without receiving.

Five ways receiving enriches your life Click To Tweet

Here are five ways receiving enriches your life

  • You form an instant connection. Accept a favour and see how quickly you form a bond with the giver.
  • You give the other person the chance to feel good about themselves. Isn’t that just wonderful? That you’re bringing happiness to someone?
  • Oh and conversely, you feel good about yourself too. The fact that someone wants to give you something reinforces your sense of self. After all who would want to give something to someone they don’t quite like?
  • You learn humility because you’re accepting a favour.
  • And you learn gratitude.


As moms, parents, adults we are used to giving all the time. It would do us good to sit back and receive for a change. So all of you out there:

  • Receive help. Ask for it and accept it with gratitude.
  • Receive compliments. A simple thank you without putting yourself down does it.
  • Receive gifts, yeah why not?

Accept, without any thought of paying back, simply with an open heart full of gratitude and nothing else.

PS: In case you were wondering, the bread was absolutely scrumptious – soft, flavourful and ‘cinnamony’ with a mild sweetness and nuts and raisins that sprung a delicious surprise in each bite.



and with #ChattyBlogs from Shanaya Tales

28 Replies to “A loaf of bread and a lesson on ‘receiving’”

  1. Oh I am like that too. I can give but when it comes to receiving, I am so shy and hesitant! Reading your post was reading my thought process. I shall try and incorporate your receiving ideology to my life and see how it works for me!! Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post Tulika

  2. I read somewhere that we have to take compliments from others heartily. Many will feel that they are not worthy of a compliment or undermine themselves or think, others are simply saying those words etc.. but we should accept a compliment and feel better as there is one person who felt we are good at something and they took time to say it to us directly. Your post reminded me of this. I appreciate whenever a friend remembers me and brings me something she cooked.

  3. Another lovely post Tulika.
    Our energies flow only when we receive and give. Else there tend to be blockages and our energies tend to spiral down if all we do is only give and not receive.
    So like you have said it’s as humbling to receive as it is to give.

    Thank you for a this post. I’m drooling thinking of that bread.

  4. Usually, it’s harder for us to receive than give. But it’s best to have a healthy mix of both. I believe, this hisaab thing is inbuilt in us. I guess, that’s ok, for it keeps both the people happy and at the same platform. 😀

  5. Insightful. I agree that receiving can make us feel awkward. I’d much rather give too. I always blush when I get compliments. I don’t know how to receive them. Online is a different matter. I don’t have to show that I’m blushing. Thank goodness.

    In person, I always feel warm and happy when someone gives me anything. And now years later I have finally learnt to accept it with grace.

  6. I do that, too! If someone gifts me something, I make a mental note to return the gesture sometime soon. I can’t just accept a gift and not give something in return – it nags me no end! And, at times, a little voice inside my head keeps wondering aloud if the ones who gifted me may be waiting for a return gift, as well!

  7. A friend once told me that giving a gift creates a bond of obligation between the giver and receiver . So he never gave a gift ! I agree with you about being conditioned not to accept gifts /favours we cannot return . Equally I agree with you, there is a grace in acceptance. We should accept in gratitude and grace and honour the donor by accepting the gift . And if we can’t return the favour , we can always pass it forward and gift someone else , keeping the gift chain going .

  8. Meh..I still keep hisaab 😛 But I understand what you are trying to say. I need to work on it, right? What a wonderful post, Tulika.

  9. The bread does look yummy, and I loved your points about the benefits of receiving – they are all so true. I have to admit that I have struggled with this too, and while these days I have gotten better at it, I haven’t thought about it the way you put it. Your points make me feel so much better about it.

  10. Oh I used to keep this hisaab too and it was such a pain. Also, since I’m always the Monica type baker and hostess I used to have this incessant need to return handmade gifts. Soon I realized that I was punishing myself and learnt to accept without giving anything materialistic in return. I learnt to thank them better and reach out to them with happiness.

    The loaf looks so good. I haven’t been very lucky with bread baking so far, but I’m getting there. Your post reminds me to try it again this evening.

  11. I have a lot to take away from this post. I am miserable at accepting receivables and compliments gracefully and seeking favours :/
    You are right with the 5 ways you have put forth in the post. A better way to start 2018 would be to be more graceful in accepting compliments 🙂

  12. The returning the favour dilemma. Maybe it is the way our parents behaved. But I hate it as it stresses me. I return empty dabbas and don’t bother about formality. They return the favour in the same way. Hisaab baraabar

    1. Way to go Lata! I do the same. I mean if I gave someone something, assuming I could even cook up something delicious, I wouldn’t want them to stress themselves thinking what they should give me in return. I’d just want them to enjoy whatever I made. Some customs need to be changed.

  13. That bread sounds very delicious to me but the gesture of your friend even more heart touching! I love giving and receiving both in equal measure because it makes both parties get into a win-win situation! I would hate to recieve without not making a note of. As Anamika says, we grew up with those values and they are strongly ingrained within us. Nice pointers to accepting how to recieve from others.

    1. You’re right. Of course we need to make sure we aren’t taking advantage of someone’s generosity but occasionally we should give in too.

  14. I feel awkward to receive too. And as you said if someone gives me something I feel an obligation to return it. But yes, you are right we don’t always have to feel this way. Enjoy the fact that someone thinks of us enough to give us something. We should be happy and grateful instead of fretting over when and how to return the favour.

  15. Somehow there is a factor of give and take always that is ingrained in us. If someone sends a dish home than we have to send something in return or at least not send it back empty. Though, I would not offer money to a friend, I would surely send something else that they liked. Very valid points there, Tulika. Receiving humbles us and if not the person we can always continue the cycle by giving to someone else.

    1. Oh the money was only because she’s starting it off as a professional venture and I felt she couldn’t possibly be giving away so much of her stuff. Of course I could have let it go just that once but well, I realised it only in hindsight.
      Passing it on to someone else is a great idea.

  16. The bread does look yummy indeed! I too wonder why so many of us feel such awkwardness is receiving! Is it because we value ourselves so little to think us as undeserving?
    By the way, a shoutout to you in my latest post! Thanks for being one of my top commentors!

  17. ‘I grew up meticulously keeping hisaab, refusing favours and always remembering to give back if I did accept something. Receiving made me uncomfortable, a little smaller, perhaps.’
    Most of the times, you resonate my (exact) thoughts, Tulika. It surprises me. Pichli janam mein hum twins rahe honge, I think. 🙂
    It’s a beautiful post. Great points. 🙂

  18. That bit of our parents inculcating in us never to keep free gifts and always make a note to return in some form or other – I identify with it. Hence, it does not come easily to receive without the mental calculations. If anyone sends me a katori of a tasty dish, I get jitters about what will I cook and give back since (1) Khaali katori vapas nahin dete, and (2) I will fail at cooking good under pressure. There is definitely to learn from your 5 points, still, it is not easy to change the internal setting.

    1. Oh I got around the katori dilemma. I kept sweets handy and put in chocolates and send it back. If it is the least bit informal friend I give the empty dabba back. You’ll be surprised how many people have expressed relief that they don’t have to fill katoris/dabbas in return. Giving and receiving should be stress-free.

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