Did you know that our brains are wired to feel more happiness when we give than when we receive? It’s true. But I want to challenge you to get better at receiving, and it all starts with toast (yes, you read that correctly).
One afternoon, back when my wife Kali and I were dating, I made her toast. For whatever reason (not hungry? avoiding carbs?) she didn’t want it. I tried to convince her to at least take a bite. After all, I had made it just for her. I wanted her to enjoy it. But she wouldn’t budge. I felt so rejected. Yes, I know, it was only toast. But making it for Kali was a way for me to show my love. I was offering more than a crispy piece of bread. I was offering a piece of myself.
Kali would probably tell you that back then, this made absolutely no sense whatsoever! But now, she completely understands why she should’ve taken a bite.
It’s not about what you’re being offered. It’s about human connection.
When someone offers us something, and we accept with gratitude, we open ourselves up to a positive and meaningful experience. Acceptance is a way to show respect and make the “giver” feel good. It empowers us to look beyond ourselves and focus on those around us. And when we do this while being fully present in those moments, we make genuine connections.
It’s not about you. It’s about them.
I feel so fortunate to have financial independence. But things used to be different. In my public school days, many of my friends struggled to get by. They worked at fast food restaurants, delivered newspapers and held other jobs common for school-aged kids. They worked because they had to. Their jobs didn’t provide extra money for “fun” spending. They needed these jobs to survive. Some friends even had to drop out of school to support their families full time. Needless to say, when at a friend’s house for dinner, I ate everything placed in front of me (or at the very least, tried a few bites). I knew what these families had to go through – how hard they had to work – in order to put that extra food on the table for me. This is how I was raised, and it’s a lesson I continue to practice every day.
Here’s that challenge.
Take that bite. At a holiday party (where all kinds of whacky things are usually offered!), on a date, at the office … even in your own home … just take a bite! Practice saying yes. Open up to trying new things. Accept what’s offered to you, and make those deeper connections.
Kali and I have learned so much from each other over the years. But this might be one of our favorite lessons! When someone offers you something….say yes! Accept it! It’s a gift. Even if it’s a just a piece of toast.