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  • Writer's pictureJenn

Are You A Hard-Working Giver But A Lousy Receiver?

Woman being willing to receive a gift

I was too!

Aaaand I'm over it.

Because I want to be able to be truly authentic and find strength in vulnerability.

I wanted to improve my capacity to love and to give and I wanted to teach my children the skills of true happiness.

Because true giving and true receiving go together.

We need both in order to fuel the other.

Many of us feel comfortable giving.

But feel resistant to receiving.

Receiving isn't about just accepting a gift. Receiving is more.

It is allowing another person to impact your life and feel the message: "I receive you. You matter".

Because there are ways of receiving that communicate, "I'll take it, but I won't take you."

Learning how to receive well is important because we are also teaching our children how to develop good habits of self-care, which affect our ability to feel joy, to relax, to develop truly intimate and genuine connections with others and ourselves.

When you ask a parent what they want for their child they will often say, "To be happy".

What if happiness is available all around and we do not know HOW to receive it?

How can we teach our kids if we don't know how?

Erich Fromm said:

"The trouble in the world is not that there is too little love, but that there is too little willingness to receive the love available to us."

Happiness and love are things we must accept and receive and allow them to make an impact in our lives. We teach our children best by doing the work ourselves.

We need the ability to receive good care from ourselves and others, receive the joy around us, receive and create opportunities to relax, and allow ourselves to receive us and receive others in return to create joy and intimacy.

Without being able to receive we will be stunted in our ability to care for ourselves. And then to truly and authentically give to others.

It is a cycle.

Why don't we feel comfortable receiving?

It takes a lot of courage and self-acceptance to see the TRUE reasons behind an inability to receive.

If shame shows up as you recognize things in yourself that you don't particularly love, you can acknowledge it without feeding it.

Rely on trust in yourself, trust in yourself, trust in the importance of self-awareness in any process of improvement and progression and how worth it it will be when you can walk past guilt, shame, worry, fear, the uncomfortable things that accompany truly and deeply receiving.

The reasons we don't want to receive often revolve around a one-up or one-down position.

Neither of these is healthy for us and they don't serve the kids who are watching and learning from our examples.

*We often fear being seen as weak or needy by ourselves or by others

*We fear losing control

*Being taken advantage of

*Being perceived as ungrateful by wanting to receive

*Or a belief that we don't deserve it.

These feel true and important but if you were to look closer...kind of like lifting the carpet and truly seeing what dirt is trapped under is what we actually have:

Control: If we don't need anyone then we are independent, righteous, secure, better than others, one up. It takes some pressure off because the less I give the less I am expected to give. This often shows up as perfectionism and/or very low-contact, low-investment. The more distance we have, the safer our image is.

Comfort: If we don't deserve it we don't have to take responsibility for it and do the work through the discomfort of owning it or tolerating receiving. This shows up as wanting others to legitimize our wants and needs. One down.

Both of these have the side-effect of keeping the pressure off of ourselves to increase our capacity to receive which is a great act of courage.

In order to allow someone to know that they have impact our lives, that they matter, we become very, very vulnerable.

We let go of control over the image they have of us.

We let go of any moral high ground.

We let go of the feeling of securing that the distance we put between our hearts and others gives.

We expose ourselves to the goodness that we may deeply believe that we don't deserve

And it will feel VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.

Maybe like you want to crawl out of your own skin.

Run for cover.




But chin up!

You are a hard worker! A dedicated giver! And you have what it takes to learn the other side of the coin.

Here are some job requirements of being a really good receiver: