Receive the Gift of Receiving

Tis the season for the gift of giving. Well I recently took a much needed break after a week that brought with it a whole lot of intensity.  This weekend I practiced something that I have been encouraged to do for some time…..receive the gift of receiving.  The sister of giving, receiving is an art form unto itself.  Being the oldest child, a Pieces, a woman, a social worker, yadda yadda, yadda I am very astute in the world of giving.  Nurturing comes easy to me.  But where there is giving, there is also receiving and that I am not so good at.  I hardly ever ask for help but secretly want it.  I will get frustrated and resentful if you don’t offer to help me but if you do I will struggle with allowing you to do so.  I know crazy but we all harbor our own crazies, right?  These days with life changing at rapid speed, we are all being pushed to confront our darker side.  The Universe seems to be pushing all of us to deal with the issues that we hold on to that are keeping us from the goods in life.  So this weekend, I allowed myself to be in a space of receiving and found that in turn I was quite reflective on this foreign art form.  A little google search and some reading started to shed light on this issue that a lot of people struggle with.

In my work as a therapist, I have come across many people who are people pleasers.  I myself used to struggle with this.  People pleasing is saying yes when you mean onyes.  Thinking about the other’s needs before you own.  It/s a process by which you deny your own needs in the service of another’s because they are far more important.  This allows you the opportunity to then fester and ruminate about how other people are not caring about you.  It’s a lovely personal jail cell that you have created and for which are in possession of the key to release yourself from should you decide to get truthful with yourself and others.  Being a giver seems altruistic in nature but underneath it has it’s dark side like all behaviors.  Giving is control.  What you say?  But I love to give, I love to just see other people happy, I enjoy being of service.  Well yes this is all true and what is equally true is you probably also like being in control.   I know I do. When we are the person who is pulling the puppet strings we have an illusion that we are in the driver’s seat.  We are the one’s in charge of our destiny.  We make things happen.  Some of this ties into being more in the Type A category of personality but doesn’t necessarily have to present itself that way. It also comes from having a lack of self compassion and love. Receiving flips the script so to speak or turns the tables of control.  When we are receiving, we are a passenger thereby more open and vulnerable.  Ah that icky word vulnerable. I know I used to hate it myself. I have heard it for years from those that have been hurt “You have to watch out because people will take your kindness for weakness.”  There is this idea that if we open up and become vulnerable to another, it becomes a perfect opportunity for them to swoop in and hurt you.  Excellent excuse to continue to be in the driver’s seat, pulling the puppet strings and continuing to wish people would think or care about you more.  Right?  Wrong.  To be human is to be vulnerable.  One of the most valuable lessons I have learned over time is that my strength comes in times when I am open to sharing myself fully, flaws and all, to the world.   Some of my strongest moments have been in times when I felt most weak.  Givers are strong in other ways too but those ways can sometimes be a defense against the fear of being hurt.

If you can relate you may be wondering “so how do I become ok with being vulnerable and allow myself to receive the things I really want?  How do I allow myself the opportunity to get my needs met? ”  These are questions that I have pondered and were consistently mentioned in all the articles I found on the subject. The answer to the question is first beginning to acknowledge that you have needs.  The second is opening up energetically to the option of some of those needs being met by yourself and by others. Acupuncture has been a key piece of my practice of opening me up to being ok with the initial icky feeling of being vulnerable. It has allowed for my energy to flow more easily and for my heart to open. Yoga and meditation have also been closely linked in this healing process.  Control is an illusion.  There are some things we can control, like our behavior, but a lot of life is outside of our control.  The intriguing thing is when we are working on controlling things, life becomes most OUT of control.  I find the words of the serenity prayer to be a wonderful reminder of this “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  The wisdom piece comes when we settle the fluctuations of the mind and tap into the heart.  It is of no surprise to me that when I energetically began my journey of opening up to being vulnerable the hearts came to me in nature.  Hearts just like this one that I found this weekend.  Through opening we begin to release the struggle with the things in life that we can’t control thereby freeing up space for us to receive the gifts as they come to us in whatever packages.  In our last chat Synchronicity we discussed how the releasing of attachment to how things should be or how you want things to be, allows for us to move more fluidly through the world.  As we begin to open up to the possibility of our needs being met, we find that people all around will offer up opportunities for us to receive.  Receiving is a gift for the receiver as well as the giver therefore you are doing something for someone else when you allow them to do for you.  It’s a symbiotic way in which we create community and connection with each other.

For today, how will you open up receiving the gift of receiving?  How will you allow yourself to embrace your own needs and humaness and become open to receiving love?  Just like the movie says, love actually is…..all around but we have to be open to receiving it to see it!  For me, I will continue the process of unfolding to this possibility, knowing that should I stay open only good things can come my way:)



  1. Jay Schimke on November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks. Helpful words, especially for the holiday season.
    However, when I read this sentence near the start of your second paragraph — "People pleasing is saying no when you mean yes." — it looked like a typo, as the inverse (i.e. 'Saying yes when you mean no') seems more common to me with people pleasing. Still, all in all, a welcome and needed article.

    • admin on November 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Yes you are correct! Thanks for catching that, always a little pesky typo that leaks out here and there and this one was an important one. Glad you liked the post. It's true that it is something to keep in mind especially around this time of year where giving is such a huge part of the tradition. Allowing yourself to receive a gift without feeling like you immediately have to give one right back is a practice in and of itself:) Happy Holidays!

  2. Jay Schimke on November 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you -*- for receiving.

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