From a very young age, many of us, especially women, are taught that giving is of the utmost virtue. We’re admonished for being self-focused. That we should think about others before ourselves. Yes, this is important in learning the behavior of sharing and an attitude of kindness to others. However, it is a one-sided learning.
Is it any wonder we fail miserably at self-care, self-compassion, and self-forgiveness? Is it any wonder that we cannot tap into our joy and unlimited potential?
We’re very lucky if we ever learn how to truly receive. It seems the wake-up call is burnout, or cancer or some other dis-ease. Giving is short-lived without the capacity to receive, renew, and replenish our spirit.
Ask yourself these questions and notice what happens in your body and thoughts. This will provide insight into your capacity to receive:
When someone offers to buy you lunch, coffee, or shared groceries, what’s your immediate reaction? What happens inside you?
When someone acknowledges your skills, talents, or accomplishments, what’s your immediate reaction? What happens inside you?
Notice any awkwardness or discomfort? Any, and all of it, is deflection behavior. All the goodness coming your way is being deflected. The gifts are being shunted back to the giver.
Now, we know we’re not intentionally rejecting the gifts. It’s just that we’re so uncomfortable with ‘receiving’ that these deflections are knee-jerk reactions.
To break this cycle of deflecting the gifts and allowing yourself to receive is initially uncomfortable. However, the gifts you receive are beyond your dreams. Start small. When a friend offers to pay for your coffee, or meal or whatever, notice the discomfort, take a breath, open, allow, and say, “Thank you, that’s very kind.” In doing so, you’re kindly receiving their gift and allowing yourself the kindness too. Allow yourself to relax the body/mind and enjoy the gift. They want to give to you. Let them! You’re giving them the gift of receiving them.
Receiving applies to your intuitive/creative capacity as well. Think of your intuition and your creative instincts as bearers of gifts. Will you immediately discount the messages, or now pay closer attention and allow yourself to follow? Will you say ‘yes’ or will the ego overrule when kindness and inner wisdom come your way?
Your capacity to receive is a gift to the other while being a gift to yourself. It’s no kindness to either when you reject it. This was a major learning in my life, and I humbly offer it here.
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