How to Expand Your Capacity to Receive

It feels great to give to someone else or to a cause that you believe in.  However, most of us find it far more difficult to receive than to give, which reminds me of this quote by T. Harv Eker:

“‘It’s better to give than to receive.’ Let me put this as elegantly as possible: ‘What a crock!’ That statement is total hogwash, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s usually propagated by people and groups who want you to give and them to receive. The whole idea is ludicrous. What’s better, hot or cold, big or small, left or right, in or out? Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Whoever decided that it is better to give than to receive was simply bad at math. For every giver there must be a receiver, and for every receiver there must be a giver.”

What if receiving gracefully is actually a gift to the people who want to give to you?

Here are some fun ways to develop your “receiving muscle:”

1. Accept Compliments

When someone compliments you, instead of deflecting the compliment (Ex. “Oh, this old thing? I got it at a garage sale.”), simply smile and say “Thank You!”

2. Say “Yes” to Help

When I go to the grocery store, I’m often asked if I need help taking everything out to my car. My default response was always “no,” until I hurt my back one time and realized that it would be really niceto have help taking my groceries to the car. 

Even if you don’t need the help, this is great practice in receiving support.

Likewise, if someone holds the door open for you or offers to put your luggage up in the overhead bin on an airplane, these are other fabulous opportunities to practice receiving.

3. Keep a Gratitude Journal

I have a practice of writing down at least 5 things I’m grateful for before I go to sleep. When you take a moment to acknowledge what you have to be grateful for, you receive these gifts in your life at a deeper level.

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Penelope Jane Smith is the premier financial freedom coach for women entrepreneurs and the go-to expert for some of the biggest names in the conscious business industry. More about Penelope. 


  1. Rhys on July 15, 2020 at 1:06 am

    Love this! I totally agree, we are taught that giving is the divine attribute, but if everyone is giving and nobody has any needs, everyone is frustrated! When I learned to receive was the day i learned to appreciate others. Now Penelope gives soooooo much and for one truley appreciate it!

  2. Victoria M Buckmann on July 19, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Love this blog! Love this practice! Yes, being able to receive is a gift in itself. In my giving,
    I receive the person’s happiness and excitement of the ‘thing’ I am giving them. I also
    have a gratitude practice that I have been doing for years now, we have large poster boards
    up on our bathroom wall and a bag of colored markers in my closet nearby. My hubby and I
    write 2-3 things we’re grateful for EVERY night before we go to bed. It is a beautiful way to
    end our day and give our mind something ‘sweet’ to dream about. Penelope you are such
    a loving, giving human gift, thank you for all your generosity!

  3. Penelope Jane Smith on July 20, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Awesome, Victoria! I’m so inspired by your Prosperity Practices! And I love that your hubby is totally on board. : D

  4. Emily Levy on September 13, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for these reminders. I’ve never thought about a gratitude practice being a way to experience receiving more deeply. I like that idea and hope thinking of it this way will help me be more consistent in that practice. Keep sharing your wisdom! I’ll happily receive it.

    • Penelope Jane Smith on September 17, 2020 at 2:51 am

      I’m so glad you like the idea, and I look forward to seeing what shows up for you as you continue your gratitude practice! : )

    • Kicki on August 15, 2022 at 3:17 am

      The gratitude journal is a part of my life since years back and help me on my low days when I need to be reminded about all the beauty in my life.. 😌🙌

  5. TailWaggingWellness on August 12, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    I have done these practices for the past few years. Really changed my day to day appreciation of life! Nancy

  6. Vanessa Nixon on August 13, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    These are really helpful suggestions! I especially love keeping a gratitude journal.

  7. Skywalker Payne on August 21, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I call gratitude my super-power. Even though I haven’t yet reached my financial goals, gratitude allows me to live in comfort and grace.

  8. Julieta Santafe Marques on June 10, 2023 at 10:30 am

    I am growing in awareness about how programmed I still am to give and deny my own needs. First, because I was too young. Later I was too worried to cause tension in my family. Then, I was too in love. Followed by I became a mother. Then, I had to do the right thing and be the bigger person when others weren’t doing the right things. Then, I became older and wasn’t supposed to want to feel young and free to choose. I guess I realise the next thing is going to be I am dead and it is too late now.
    I will show up for myself the sooner the better and learn to receive from others and myself. Enough of this giving is better than receiving nonsense!!!!

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