There is no doubt about it. December is the time of year that is synonymous with giving. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, charitable organizations or the people who make our lives better, we all have our lists and are checking them twice! Most of us love to give -- and when we do so, we feel good about ourselves, joyful, abundant and alive.

But what about receiving? Most people feel very uncomfortable about receiving! Whether it is a lavish gift, an act of kindness, generosity from a friend, or even a compliment, we have a difficult time receiving. For many, our awkwardness around receiving started at an early age. We were brought up hearing messages like, "Tis better to give than to receive." or "Give more than you get." We decided consciously or unconsciously that people who receive are greedy, selfish, weak, or needy -- and since we didn't want to be any of those things, we made receiving wrong. When I first looked at my inability to receive, I realized that I had a belief that if I received something from someone, then I would owe them something in return. For me, being beholden to anyone was a loss of control and a very scary place. So for me receiving became taboo.

When we make receiving wrong, we not only limit what we don't want but also that which our heart truly longs for. When we make receiving wrong, we diminish the amount of love, abundance, happiness, and magic we allow into our lives! When we make receiving wrong, we erect an energetic barrier around us that keeps us from attracting all that we do desire as well as that which we do not. When we make receiving wrong, we knowingly or unknowingly make a declaration to the universe, others and ourselves that we do not feel worthy and deserving enough to open ourselves up to the unimaginable gifts that the universe has to offer.

I always love to hear stories about people who knew each other for years and one day, in an instant, their relationship turns into love. Or the person who is paralyzed by a problem for months and then all of a sudden has a flash of genius and finds the solution. What has changed? They open themselves up to receive something that was previously unavailable to them. The fact is that magic, possibilities, extraordinary circumstances, and opportunities exist in every moment and are around us all the time. And as Debbie Ford writes in Spiritual Divorce, "Miracles can show up in our lives when we are open to receiving them!"

I truly believe that like all valuable lessons, the universe wants us to open up to receiving. For some of us, it does take a painful event like a divorce to realize that you cannot and do not have to do it on all on your own. For Debbie, her illness taught her to receive. In the "Letter to the Reader" in her book Courage, she wrote, "One of the greatest lessons I learned lying in bed for almost a year was to receive love."

I know that what Debbie would want for you this holiday season, in the new year, and always is to have a fantastic life. We agree! And I know that to have a fantastic life, you need to open yourself up to receive as well as give. If you do not, you will inevitably deplete yourself. So as you rush around this holiday season making your gift-giving list, make time to receive all the magic, love, happiness, and abundance that are dancing right around you!

Transformational Action Steps

1. Journal about your beliefs about receiving. What were the messages you received when you were young about people who receive or being a giver vs. a receiver?

2. Become aware of how you feel about receiving. For example: If you are given a gift this holiday season, notice how it automatically makes you feel. What emotions come up for you?

3. Be fascinated by your actions around receiving. If you are given a compliment, do you ignore it, deflect it, or breathe it in? If someone offers to do something for you, how do you respond?

4. Have fun opening up to miracles. Declare a day, an hour, or even ten minutes when you are going to look at life through the lens that everything around you is a miracle. Just notice what happens when you do!

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Kosow is a Master Integrative Life Coach, CEO & Program Leader of The Ford Institute. She is a leader and teacher of emotional education, shadow work, and personal mastery.

In 2007, Kelley joined The Ford Institute staff. She was hand-picked and personally trained by the late Debbie Ford to lead her programs and continue the legacy of her life-changing work. Known as a “coach’s coach,” Kelley works with individuals, groups and corporations world-wide.

Kelley is a graduate of Brown University and University of Miami Law School. Kelley has been featured in local and national media. Oprah Magazine named Kelley as someone who could “Dream it, Do it.” She has been featured in In Style, People, NY and LA Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.

Kelley is working on her first book on Integrity.