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Is it better to give or to receive?

"'Tis better to give than receive," the saying goes. But is the saying true?

Ah, the holidays . . . Are you making your gift list and checking it twice? What comes up for you when you think about holiday shopping, Black Friday (which seems to start earlier every year), or what gift suggestion to send to your very-well-meaning-but-a-little-too-insistent friend or family member who wants to know exactly what to buy for you?

Whether you revel in gift exchanges or find the entire process forced and commercialized, you are not wrong.

My challenge to you, however, is to look a little deeper at your feelings related to (a) giving and (b) receiving. Not just in the context of giving and receiving tangible holiday or birthday gifts but on a regular basis.

Let's use compliments as an example: How do you respond when others compliment you?

Your colleagues rave over the brownies you brought to the office. What do you say?

✦ "Thank you!" ✦ "Oh, it was nothing... I used a store-bought mix." ✦ "Well, they aren't anywhere near as good as those cookies Susan brought yesterday!" ✦ "Thank you; I like your tie!"

If you deflect compliments or feel compelled to return a compliment, what's the feeling that comes up? Are you uncomfortable receiving compliments?