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  • Writer's pictureLoralyn Mears, PhD


This article was originally published on April 29, 2019 at

This is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings.

If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Motivation Monday quick tips. Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Motivation Monday!


I had never heard of such things until I saw it on a Seinfeld episode, which, I guess, officially made it a thing at that time. Apparently, it’s been elevated to an art form with multiple blogs, community forums, magazine articles and even an etiquette school dedicated to the practice. That’s all good, but re-gifting is not the end game. What happens when you receive a gift? Maybe you like it, and maybe you don’t.

In last week’s column, we discussed the art of giving. Naturally, it made sense to follow-up this week with the opposite of that. Of course, I’m talking about the art of receiving a gift.


Somewhere along the way, I personally think that society has lost the plot. But that’s a topic for a future column. People, at least some if not most, have forgotten their manners. When somebody gives you something, you should recognize the gesture. Receive it with open arms and an open heart. And thank them for it in a timely manner!

Do you want Monday motivation? Start your week off thanking someone for something that they did for you.


Whether it’s to your particular taste or not should be a moot point. Practice gratitude. Someone made an effort to do something extra for you and for that you should be grateful. And never, ever re-gift something that is deeply meaningful to the person who gave it to you or hand-made by them.


First, be genuine as you receive it. Focus on the bigger picture which is likely the long-term relationship future potential with that person. Be mindful of the fact that they chose to do something for you because that’s what the gift is all about. “Be gracious and be kind” is the top-line rule etched out in Southern Living. And if anyone knows about manners, it’s folks from the South! They also suggest sending thank-you notes.

Indeed, a lost art or certainly one teetering on the edge of extinction. Although technology has altered that tradition, it can also enable it. A thank-you note doesn’t have to come stamped in the mail. It can be a heartfelt message sent as a text, email or picture snap. But it has to happen. Even the world’s leading authority on the subject, Miss Manners, wholeheartedly agrees.


Each year, more than 80 Million unwanted gifts end up on e-Bay. That is potentially dangerous territory because the gift-giver may spot the unwanted gift online and then you’ll have to answer to that or suddenly find yourself shunned. If the latter happens, you’ll know why. The whole thing is to think about the bigger picture: somebody made an extra effort for you. Perhaps the best solution to consider is donating it, then someone who really wants a gift like that will finally have the opportunity to receive it.


Unless the gift is a smile or a wave hello that can be easily matched on-the-spot, there is no need to feel obligated to have to buy a gift for whoever gave you one. Of course, if you have a general agreement, tradition or practice to buy each other holiday or birthday gifts, then you need to hold up your end of the bargain. Here, I’m referring to an unexpected out-of-the-blue gift. A better way to think about it is, now that you’ve received this surprise gift, you’re up +1 in the column of “extra”. Maybe you could pay it forward and give something to someone else in the future?


Alan Naiman. Hands-down, one of the lesser known yet most surprising heroes of our time. He died a little over a year ago but it took some time for his generosity to come to light. He was a social worker who used duct tape to extend the life of his shoes but he donated $11 Million dollars to children’s charities in and around Washington State.

Earlier in his career, he was a banker, worked side-gigs, inherited money from his parents and saved in earnest. Then he had a change-of-heart at the death of his older, disabled brother. Enlightened, he altered his path to pursue a career in social work and fostered many children in his home. He lived alone, never married and did not have children of his own.

Everyone was stunned by his generosity. This man truly exemplified the art of giving and receiving. To take the cue from Motivation Monday, you don’t need to give away everything that you’ve ever earned. But you certainly can give something once in a while. And you can give the gifts of kindness and courtesy dozens of times each and every day.

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