Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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The Art of Receiving

Receiving is incredibly challenging for many, but receiving is essential in partnering.

Most of us are accustomed to taking and are proficient at it!
We go to a restaurant and order a plate of sushi, filet mignon, or some other delicacy to delight our taste buds. When the waiter brings our food to the table, we take it and taste it, and if it does not meet our expectations, we do something about it, like complain under our breath and flash a fake smile as the staff walks by. Or if we are in a somewhat generous mood, we express our niggles and allow the restaurant staff to make it right. But if we are grumpy, we soak in a foul mood and depart, vowing never to return!
In another instance, on payday, we check our bank account to ensure the deposit amount is accurate because before the money hits the account, we already have plans for spending it! If the balance is what we expect, we think: OK, I will take it. And we go our merry way! 😊

Unlike taking, receiving is an entirely different ballgame!

The Value of Receiving

In the instances above, we freely take what we think we are entitled to, but receiving requires accepting from a posture of gratitude. – It almost requires acknowledging our undeservedness, which can be challenging. As you read this, you might be thinking Aké, not me! I receive happily and freely. Gifts are my love language, and I do not understand why anyone would struggle to take – anything!
To that, I say: Kudos to you for your ability to receive gifts! Receiving and giving Gifts is indeed a love language, as Gary Chapman espoused in his well-known book, The Five Love Languages. As many would recall, in addition to receiving gifts, there are four other love languages: quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, and acts of service, and they all require receiving. Therefore, let us explore the art of receiving further, even if only for the benefit of others. 😉

A mysterious art!

For some time, I have been studying the art of receiving or learning to accept graciously, as I fondly refer to it. I became fascinated by the subject many years ago. – After a few conversations about a particular work experience, a life coach suggested I needed to learn to receive. When she stated this, I was floored and wanted to ask her how it could be that the art of receiving was not in the nucleotides of Wonder Woman’s DNA. 😉
Fortunately, I did not say this! Later, when her suggestion became my realization, I began to pay attention and perceived the hidden value in knowing how to receive: Knowing how to receive enables partnering, strengthens relationships, and is vital to being fulfilled.
However, after years of practice, I would not say I have mastered this delicate art by any stretch! Fortunately, though I have a long way to go, I have improved my receiving ability.
Here is some of what I learned along the journey.


Receiving requires surrendering.

Letting go of entitlements while retaining worthy dreams and appreciating what is. 

Through time, we face many opportunities to surrender or hang on for dear life to whatever we believe should be ours! One applies for a job they firmly believe they are qualified for but do not get an offer. Or another is neglected by their child that they sacrificed everything for. While another maintains an optimal health regimen yet contracts a debilitating illness. These situations all seem unfair. Yet, at other times, we experience the reverse. One gets a promotion unexpectedly. Or one feels utterly fortunate to have married their spouse because of the immense value they add to their life.

As we know from living, we do not always get what we deserve. Sometimes, we get less, and other times, we get more. Yet, it seems easier to remember those times when we got less than we believed we deserved or hoped for. Ironically, at those moments, opportunity might be deferred, not denied. As was wisely said, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. Indeed, a prolonged wait can be sickening. Fortunately, there is a colossal opportunity in waiting. It is readiness! But not recognizing this opportunity can lead us to walk away from what we need most. – Such as undervaluing those who can walk with us on our life journey and failing to acknowledge our need for them.

Acknowledge our need for others.

I need help, and so do you, and this is good.

A dangerous deception is the belief that self-sufficiency is the ultimate pinnacle of accomplishment. As we have all experienced, it is impossible to accomplish anything worthwhile in isolation. Yet, receiving is humbling because it suggests we cannot do it alone. Today, being self-sufficient is often portrayed as a differentiating mark of success, like a heroic emblem. When many describe a personal success story, the narration may conclude with this peculiar phrase or some variation: I got here all by myself because when there was no one to my left or right, I never gave up on myself. Or, in an article or interview, one might be described as self-made! Certainly, stick-to-it-iveness, self-confidence, and drive are admirable, but can a person accomplish greatness, or what is worthwhile alone? When one applies for a job or attempts to purchase a home, regardless of how talented, skilled, or wealthy one is, one needs another to accept the bid and process the application. 

Indeed, our need for others is unavoidable, and acknowledging this need is invaluable!

Express gratitude.

Gratitude is often the only worthy response. 

To better grasp this, let us consider a scenario we might refer to as Taken but not Received.
On a blistering cold winter morning in December, while clearing snow from your deck, you see your next-door neighbor engaged in the same activity. Instantly, you peer above the foundation bushes to greet them. As you peek over and catch up on holiday plans, they inform you that a neighbor living alone around the cul-de-sac had knee arthroplasty, aka knee replacement surgery. They add that the neighbor has a long recovery journey and is homebound. Touched by the news, you head to the grocery store, and the following day, you prepare two hearty dishes: Minestrone and Pasta e Fagioli. Delighted, you think: Surely, these delicacies will nurse them back to optimal health in record time! Swiftly, you head to the home of your ill neighbor and hand the meals to them!

Surprisingly, a few days later, you get a piece of mail from them. Enveloped in the holiday-themed envelope are a greeting card and a $150 check, and the card reads: Thank you for the warm meal. You didn’t have to. Here you go! Happy Holidays! 

As you read the greeting card from your neighbor and stare at the check, how do you feel?

The Worthy Response

Most of us would likely be disappointed by our neighbor’s gesture. Why? Because the check was $120 short? Or because they did not adequately highlight our exquisite Italian culinary skills in the greeting card? Or perhaps because the funds came a few days later than we hoped?
I have a hunch it is neither of the reasons above. Instead, hurt feelings would likely arise because we feel rejected. Specifically, our neighbor did not receive our heartfelt gift, though they took it. Poor reception feels like rejection and makes one feel unappreciated. When one gives with pure intentions, one desires a graceful reception. Indeed, gratitude is often the only worthy response.

Friend, in this season of giving, may we receive graciously, remembering that gratitude is all an authentic giver ever truly desires.

For you and to you,


Image credit: Daniel Pérez



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