Learning to Receive

You find yourself easily giving others your time, your love and your best but when the table is turned you find it very difficult to accept the same from others. You may think this is very noble of you but in fact it’s a sign of a destructive crack. To only give and not receive creates an imbalance in the relational system. We were designed to be on both sides of the equation and reality dictates that at times we will have needs. If you are not receiving, then you are perilously imbalanced. Your relationships are perilously imbalanced. You are likely not being honest with yourself and others.

What do you do if you are a non-receiver? Start by noticing it. Be aware of compliments you receive and your reaction to them. Notice when people try to offer help to you or show their love in a tangible way. What do you feel physically and emotionally? Next notice your thoughts connected to your emotions. Why do you respond the way you do? Did you grow up believing it was selfish to need or arrogant to receive a compliment? A lot of us did so you are not alone. There is likely an undercurrent of an inaccurate belief feeding this unhealthy behavior so do a little digging and find out what it is.

Next, challenge this inaccurate belief. Can you really give, give and give but never receive? No! At some point in your life your needs will come rearing their held-down heads and they just might be voracious. Better to deal with them early before they try to tank your life! Remind yourself that it is not selfish to receive from others. In fact, you are giving them an opportunity to do something for you, which is a gift in itself. We like to show our love and gratitude, if the receiver won’t receive, then the giver doesn’t get to share in the lovely exchange of giving and receiving. By not receiving you are robbing others of the joy of giving. That is where the selfishness lies. You are being selfish by not receiving from others and you are showing arrogance by communicating you are too good to need.

When someone gives you a compliment, practice saying “Thank you”. That’s it. No follow up with, “It was nothing” or “I don’t really deserve that”. Just a simple “Thank you” will do. When someone wants to show their love, let them by challenging the inaccurate belief with truth. Neither the “Thank you” nor the acceptance of being given to will be easy for you. That’s ok. Anything worth changing involves work and some discomfort. Work through it by reminding yourself of the truth.

Categories: Acceptance, Boundaries, Emotional Healing, Growth, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Learning to Receive

  1. Jerry Davis

    Love this. I challenged one of my clients on this the other day. She told me that her DBT therapist also confronted her. Her therapist offered a compliment to my client and my client minimized it and explained it away to which her therapist replied: “ I expect my gifts to be received.” I like that. jed

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