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 there...here 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:
1. Have a good reason to accept endure the uncomfortable feelings that may come with receiving.
Being able to receive actually expands our hearts for goodness, joy, and gratitude.
And truer giving.
In order to receive joy we must have the ability to receive.
This isn't just in the form of the casserole your neighbor brought.
It is EVERYWHERE in the world around us.
It is in the kindness of strangers.
The beauty of the world around us.
The nurturance of good food.
Sexuality and intimacy.
When you have a decreased ability to receive, you may find yourself as the one who can be at a party surrounded by people you love and not enjoy a minute of connection and relaxation.
But...when you increase your capacity to receive you increase your ability to recognize and feel what is generously and offered abundantly around you. You begin to build a super-power that is deeply connected to gratitude. You are communicating to the universe and fellow humans, "You bless me. You matter. You impact my life."
And it becomes easier to believe, "I am blessed. I matter. I impact lives." without giving in to depletion.
You get better at loving others and yourself. Freedom. Compassion. Love. Acceptance become your new motivators that replace guilt, shame, regret, and self-neglect.
2. Get good at being uncomfortable
We humans love to be comfortable.
You know that feeling that there is a bag of cookies in the cupboard and you start to get squirmy just thinking about it?
That is uncomfortable.
The little memory of putting it there in the special cookie cupboard (or tampon box...you're welcome)....
Imagining how it is going to taste when the little chocolate chips melt in the mouth...
Thinking about how great it would feel to eat them while I watch this movie (or hiding in the closet so my kids don't see....)
The brain knows that if we get tired enough of that uncomfortable feeling, that nagging, we will do something to feel better.
Get up and eat the cookies and it will all go away...is the promise.
When we are being really mindful we can detect what the mind is doing. Creating that nagging feeling so we will go back to the familiar.
If the familiar is not needing help.
Not receiving help.
Not receiving joy or relaxation..
Then it is okay to expect to feel slightly or profoundly horrible.
And that's okay.
We've all sat through that feeling and not eaten the cookies.
We know we aren't going to die if we watch the movie cookieless.
We will be okay if we receive.
The next time you become aware that you are not receiving, here are two questions to ask yourself:
What am I afraid of?
Is that legitimate?
If the answer is no, it may be time to step up and receive through the discomfort.
3. Change your thoughts about receiving
When you ask yourself "What am I afraid of?" or "Why don't I want to receive?" and truly listen to the authentic answer that comes from your mind it is an opportunity to see if that is an answer that aligns with connection, happiness, authenticity, and acceptance.
These are all thoughts that are optional so why not choose ones that serve you to show up as the person you want to truly be?
Receiving can be seen as true humility. It is self-respecting and self-compassionate. It is saying, "I am worthy and so are you" and you allow the other person to know that they have impacted your life.
It can leave you vulnerable.
You will not have the one-up position or the one-down position and so it will be an act of true courage to say, "I'm uncomfortable but that's okay".
You become LESS SELF-CENTERED as the receiving has nothing to do with your position or theirs in relation to you.
You will not have earned it, you will not be entitled to it, it is not owed to you.
You develop a greater ability to create goodness and love.
You become more productive and happier and more loving.
You do not have to be more miserable to be more righteous.
Receiving is a good, good thing.
And you can do it.
If you recognize yourself in this article....it is okay!
The great news is that you are normal.
And I know exactly how to help you learn to accept the joy in your life.
All the good things.
You can be the mom who can chill out and enjoy life.
Enjoy your kids.
Enjoy the moments.
It is just a matter of using your super-giving skills to become a super-receiver.
You have what it takes.
I know because I've done it.
I know how to find joy in the chaos.
All you need to do is reach out and take your first step to receiving good things.
I've got you.
#strongerbecause I know how to receive joy