I had to be taught to be gracious. That’s a quality that doesn’t come by naturally to me as I suspect to most guys. After all, our male instinct is to win, get “there” first, hold on tight to what’s ours, fight our way to the top and not to take grief from anyone. Early in life I saw my mother model grace as she gave so much of herself, and of her amazing cooking skills, to family and friends. I have my wife, Gwen, to thank for modeling grace in her relationships and how she deals with people. Interestingly, graciousness has as much to do with giving as it does with receiving. Are you a gracious person? Answer the following questions honestly.
Do you have to win every argument?
Are you able to receive gifts and compliments well?
Do you give expecting something in return? Even gratitude?
How often do you resent people for not being thankful for something you’ve done for them?
How easy is for you to be “done” with a relationship because it’s not reciprocal?
When was the last time you’ve allowed someone else to “win” so they could safe face and not be embarrassed.
How often do you open your home to someone who might never be able to return the favor?
Have you ever reneged on your word because the stakes got too high and you were about to give away more money than you thought?
How many friends do you have who are not in your social-economic demographic?
Being gracious is hard work. At least it is for me. Altruism is easier towards those whom I have never met than it is toward a family member, a client or a friend who doesn’t respond the way I want them to. But I have never regretted backing down when I knew I had the right to push forward for the sake of a relationship. I have never regretted giving regardless of the perceived “appreciation.” Interestingly, human nature being what it is, I still have to fight the urge to attach strings to any kindness I do.
Who’s the most gracious person you know?