Hospitality is about welcoming people. There are many articles that give tips on becoming the perfect host and where you can pick up some really good advice. Homemakers love to have their houses ready when guests are due to arrive. Being a good host is definitely not an easy job. There are many factors to take into account and a lot of work to be done. Hopefully, on these occasions you may find someone ready to offer a helping hand!
However, there are not many articles that talk about the best way to handle guests when they arrive unexpectedly. I found one titled: “How to Handle the Uninvited Guest”, but it was about how to politely reject someone when he or she was not invited to an event. I did not find any articles about the attitude of welcoming people from the heart. We need to receive guests not only in our houses or at our parties, but especially in our hearts on a daily basis.
My reflection on “welcoming guests” has a broader meaning because somehow we are always receiving a lot of people. People come in and out of our lives every day. At home, at work, in the park, in the store. Some may come and leave quickly, others will stay forever and some only for a while. Somehow we are the hosts of our lives, we decide how we want to receive the people who come across our way.
When we develop a welcoming attitude in our hearts towards the people around us, an “inner hospitality” flourishes inside us. This hospitality is more valuable than just hospitality itself. It means having a generous spirit and a friendly and open attitude to help make other people comfortable when they are with us. It is about putting yourself in other people’s shoes to give them what they need at that precise moment: your time, your attention and your smile. We develop an inner hospitality when we focus our attention more on the person in front of us, rather than on ourselves. Looking at this challenge with an innovative approach can help us think of more creative ways to surprise people and to be more empathetic.
Authenticity is a key element in this art. No matter what the industry, all organizations are in the business of hospitality. When you arrive somewhere, you perceive immediately if people there are willing to receive you. It is also possible to perceive if it bothers that person, and if they have to make a big effort to adjust to the rules of the place and to the people who are there when you arrive. To make others feel at ease, we must first be comfortable ourselves.
A heartfelt welcome has to do with the experience of emotional comfort that one experiences when the most intimate details are observed, contemplated and in a nonjudgmental way, they are kindly taken care of by the host. So we can ask ourselves, is my heart a welcoming place? Am I someone ready to help friends at any time? How can I develop a more welcoming attitude?
Any person who asks for hospitality of any kind gives us the possibility of developing our humanity. They are actually giving us a present: the gift to love and be loved. Love cannot be deserved or demanded, it is always a pure gift. Having a welcoming heart helps the host grow, just as listening helps make us more caring human beings.
Developing a more hospitable heart applies to all of us, because it appeals to our humanity. Our capacity to love increases every time we show love and receive others warmly and it makes us feel really happy and fulfilled.
I love to think that homemakers are artists because they transform ordinary days into beautiful poetry. Welcoming is one of the arts they cultivate. Everyday at home they receive other members of the family, not just with a clean house or a delicious dinner but with a warm and welcoming heart.