I’ve been getting a lot of messages in my life about my need to RECEIVE, my need to live in the flow and have more fun. These messages are somewhat troublesome for me, because I’ve always been a giver.
I’m a fantastic mom, a great friend, a hard worker and a caregiver who took the very best care of my terminally ill parents as they were dying, and for a long time before they were dying.
I’m great at providing care for others. I also learned that when it comes to taking care of myself, I didn’t always put myself first, and I didn’t rely on anyone but me to get things done. I KNOW that I can be counted on. Other people, not always.
I have a handful of people in my life I know I can count on in a pinch. The people in this group vary from time to time, and lately some of the people inside this group (and more importantly, outside of this group) have been surprising to me. When things were recently shaken up in my life, some of the people I certainly expected to be there, simply were not, while the generosity of near strangers astounded me. Sometimes, you just really don’t know those you think you know well.
As a giver, it’s hard for me to be on the other end and to truly relax enough to receive. It takes practice, and if I’m honest, courage as well. Being on the receiving end of receiving is a vulnerable place to be. It means you have to trust someone else (even if it’s only for a moment) to meet your need in one way or another. You have to let go just enough to let them in and help.
I’ve been thinking recently about how difficult it can be to love someone who can’t receive (myself included). When you’re with someone and their family member is sick and you say, “If you need anything, please let me know,” you mean that, right? Yet, how often do people actually call you and ask you to help them with something? Rarely, if ever, right? However, I bet if you just cooked a meal or sent a cleaning crew to their home, they wouldn’t turn you away.
When you do something nice for someone (like cook a meal) and they won’t accept it, how does it make you feel? Me? I feel shitty if I go out of my way to help someone and they refuse to accept my offer. Why wouldn’t they want this great meal I cooked? Chances are, it has absolutely nothing to do with me. However, I often don’t consider that. Instead, I instantly go into, “what’s wrong with me?” mode. That’s not okay. Likely, their failure to receive has nothing to do with me, or the meal that I cooked.
Bottom line: the person I cooked for is not ok with being vulnerable. Said another way, they like to be in control, they have a hard time giving up the reigns and can’t be courageous enough to trust another person to meet their needs—even if it’s only for a moment.
For some reason, people like this have been conditioned and/or gravely hurt by others in the past and are unable to trust others. So they simply don’t let other people in—except maybe a select few who rightly or wrongly “earned” their way into their circle. When I say rightly or wrongly, for these people, their enemies “earned” a seat at the table too, because their enemies know how to trigger them. Keeping their enemies close, keeps non-receivers from being triggered unexpectedly, and therefore, in control.
People like this don’t recognize or accept true kindness when it is shown to them. They think everything comes with strings attached and/or everyone has a hidden agenda, so they push any and all types of help away. As a result, they go through life doing everything themselves, almost with a “Superman/Superwoman” complex because they believe they themselves are the only one they can depend on.
When shit hits the fan and they are exhausted from doing everything for themselves (and everyone else under the sun), they wonder why everything has to be so hard. I know this, because I lived a good portion of my life this way.
Recently though, a new way has been presented to me, and it’s brilliant. It’s vulnerable and courageous. In exchange, it’s also very rewarding.
When we open ourselves up to others, we freely receive the gifts they offer us. An amazing circle of healing is initiated. The giver feels good giving, we get filled up receiving, our friendship grows and we are able to better give to others.
You know what else? Those old wounds we had from being hurt in the past? They get healed as well, almost without even touching or acknowledging them. They are simply resurfaced with the courage and vulnerability we exchange in the receiving process.
We’re so afraid of what we’re going to lose by being vulnerable, that we fail to consider how much we’ll gain.
I encourage you to give receiving a try.
Especially as a giver. Be courageous, be bold, be brilliant. It saddens me to think of the healing that was lost (on both sides) by my need to remain in control.
Receive the love, encouragement, and gifts you give in order to heal the wounds of the past.
Trust the process of receiving and become better able to give.