Why It Hurts When Your Gift Is Refused


She did not say anything about the gift. And it was two weeks already.

Why does it hurt so much when a spouse, partner or family member rejects your gift or your show of care? Truly, it does appear that those who are closest to you hurt you the most. Do they do it willingly or they just expect that you ought to know what kind of gift they like. Maybe they expect gifts in the way of a hug or a great show of emotion than in the one wrapped in paper and tied with a ribbon. But beyond the warmth of the hug and the kisses, you always want to give something tangible. Why wouldn’t any one understand that?

It always hurts when love is shoved back in your face. For me, it’s not about the gift; it’s about the thought behind the gift. I don’t believe a gift should be refused when it is clear that there is no ulterior motive. I may not have bought the best quality or the most expensive, but accept it. I’m not asking you to use it, if the gift is beneath you, but accept it. Smile and be excited about it genuinely. The giver already knows that it is not the best; but it is his best at the moment. He could do better if he could. Now, that gift could just be stored up in the wardrobe, displayed without use. But that’s what it is: a gift!

When it has been received, it’s up to the receiver to do whatsoever he wants with it: sell it, give it out or even throw it away in the bin, not refuse it or throw it back at the giver. The idea is that the giver goes home happy that he has done something. Of course, he knows the best stuff, he knows where quality is sold, but he doesn’t go there to buy because his pocket will embarrass him; so he buys what is neat and affordable and usable, even if for casual temporary purposes only; not spot-light usable gifts. The not-good side of refusing a gift is that there might never be a next time, for the giver to offer something. He may think about buying something but he will change his mind because he remembers the last time and doesn’t believe he should waste his time, money or good intentions. Even where he waits till he has enough money to buy the best quality, there is always that reservation that he will be refused.

Excellence and quality are good, definitely non-negotiable attributes. But when it comes to gifts, be careful. You may be too picky, too sensitive and too choosy, that you lose the essence of the gift. Most importantly, you lose the person giving the gift. When you refuse a gift, you are refusing the giver of the gift. There is no other way to put it. Nothing hurts like being unwanted.

Rejecting a gift is not the same thing as refusing a gift. To refuse something is to say that you do not want something that has been offered to you. To reject something is to decide not to use or sell something because its quality is not good enough. You can reject a gift but do not refuse it. This means, accept then reject. Take the gift in love then decide whether to use or dispose of it.

Of course, there are people you respect and you don’t want to give just anything to them. Then there are those you not only respect but who are wealthy and who use only the best of the best. How do you appreciate such people with gifts? For me, it is not a big deal. We are so quick to consider ego and status we forget what a gift means. If I love you, I give you the best of me and the best that I have at that moment. I wouldn’t steal to please you. I wouldn’t fake my life to honour you. I wouldn’t borrow or be immersed in high debts to make you happy. It is only when you don’t respect me in turn or you don’t understand my love for you, that you refuse my gift no matter how small or how inferior. If I honestly feel you would not be appreciative, I would rather express my love in non-tangible gift ways: text messages, a card, and so on. But nothing replaces the aura of a gift. But better not give than give and be spited openly for it.

I remember at my wedding, a very important personality who had been invited offered a gift that was so intangible, almost unusable by or irrelevant for a young couple that my wife and I were ridiculously shocked. We burst out laughing, knowing we would never use the gift, but we accepted it. This VIP, who came with grandeur, inspiring high expectations in us, had disappointed us, but we did not give him that feeling. He went home happy. He had done a good deed.

This is how I receive gifts: I smile effusively. I tell you thank you with such emotion as though you gave me a billion dollars. I tell you how your gift means so much to me with such genuine feelings, that you go home blessed in your soul. Do I pretend that the gift is perfect, no! I may point out any imperfections, if at all, but I don’t refuse the gift. Thereafter I do with it as I please.

More and more I understand how God feels when we refuse his offer of love and salvation. It must really hurt!

In any case, you cannot throw away family completely. You may just find the need to get the kind of gift they like or simply trump their attitude and keep being you, being nice. After all, again, it’s the thought that counts; it’s the goodness of your heart.