Learning to receive
10 August 2010 7 Comments
I was reading something today about ‘learning to receive’ and was thinking how underrated receiving is. We’re all taught that giving is a good thing and taking is generally frowned upon, but how many of us are socialised into receiving with grace?
I’m bad at asking for help but quite good at volunteering to do things. Hence, my plate is almost always too full. But when someone offers to help, it is only very recently that I’ve learned to simply say ‘Thanks’, instead of ‘Thanks, it’s ok.’ Because it isn’t usually ok, if I’m honest with myself. And I’ve learned to appreciate the offer, not just of help, but of human connection.
I know a woman who is so intent on giving, she’s virtually constipated. Which is a bizarre image I know. I don’t mean that she is constipated because she’s unwilling to give; rather she is so relentless and insistent on her gifts that they are in effect impositions. You can almost see the tautness of the muscles in the body as she acts out every instance of I. Must. Be. Generous. And. Giving. I. Am. A. Good. Person. I wouldn’t even say she’s insincere — just unable to relax. This form of tense giving frequently takes the form of advice-giving too. And you can guess how that can play out — I. Am. Telling. You. For. Your. Own. Good. See the veins pop and watch the histrionics rise when you reject her offer: she is hurt that you (selfish thing) haven’t allowed her to be the generous person she believes herself to be. When a co-worker seemed to be in a bad mood, she tried to send out thoughts of kindness, but was everyday chalking up the sums on how the other person wasn’t responding. Try and offer her something nice though and she’ll suspect your motives.
Learning to receive, as I’m learning, makes one a better giver, as we begin to see how receiving is actually part of the cycle of giving. Rivers give life to plants having received water from the rain, and plants give life and so on. Generosity, this writer writes, is ‘a two way street. It’s an openness of heart that’s just as much about graciously receiving as it is about giving.’ New Age Law of Attraction theories espouse it. There’s even a WikiHow to do guide on what steps to take!
Ultimately, learning to receive is about self-love, about holding the belief that one is worthy of consideration. And this is not to be mistaken for narcissism, which is at the core a form of self-loathing. At this Leo new moon, remember that while the Lion is famous for their love of self-display, they are also generous with their largesse.
I’m learning that when I receive a compliment, a gift, a smile with grace, I nourish something inside me that then doesn’t feel the urge to reach out and take/snatch/grasp instead.
Image: I give you love. Source: stock.xchng.