During this week of American Thanksgiving, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails in my inbox where people are giving their products and services at a reduced rate or even for free. They are very generous gestures and yet my attention is being diverted towards receiving.
Receiving has been coming up in my coaching sessions with several people and one of my beautiful friends texted me yesterday asking me “what does it mean to receive? How do you receive?” They are great questions and they inspired me to spend some time contemplating them so I thought I would share what has come to me.
First of all, how you do one thing is how you do everything so when we are discussing the action of receiving, it doesn’t really matter whether we are talking about receiving love, receiving support, receiving money…. They are one in the same. They all involve an exchange of energy.
From an energetic perspective, giving is energy going out and receiving is energy coming in. It appears to be very simple, and it is and yet we human beings have found a way to complicate it. We have found a way to get in the way of our receiving.
Now why the heck would we do that? Once again it is happening at a subconscious level and we aren’t aware we are doing that until we are. So becoming aware of our particular flavour of resisting is very helpful because then we have choice to do things differently.
Underneath the resistance, which I’ll get to in a minute, is a fear. Let’s use money as an example. For some people, the thought of receiving a lot of money, more money than they are used to, brings up fears of not knowing how to manage it or of having increased responsibility as a result.
This fear may sound crazy to you but I had a big fear about receiving love. I was afraid that if I let in all the love that was being given to me, that it would take me over and I would disappear. It would annihilate me. I’d end up in a weeping mass on the floor. Crazy huh?
And yet these fears can feel really real and they cause us to protect ourselves so we can be safe (perceptively).
So how do we get in the way of receiving? What causes us to resist being given to?
It’s our protective mechanisms that we took on as children. It’s beliefs about we took on about ourselves, life and how we had to be in the world to stay safe, loved and not abandoned that then caused us to adopt habitual ways of being that aren’t who we really are.
One belief that I adopted in order to stay safe and loved by my parents was that I had to do everything myself and not need any attention. This belief led to me being super independent, self-sufficient and never asking for help. Was help and assistance available? You bet. In fact, it was offered to me time and time again but I wouldn’t let it in. I resisted receiving because if I did, then someone would get hurt and it would be my fault and then I wouldn’t be loved. Was that belief true? No. But as a little 4 year old, through little 4 year old eyes, I perceived it to be true.
So you can see that me allowing myself to receive support hasn’t come easily. I have worked on it consciously and now I am at a place where I can receive. I even ask for help now. AND…I still have my moments where I default back into believing I have to do it all on my own, because I am human after all.
For some people, they have the belief that you have to work really hard for money, that you have to earn it. So if money literally came knocking at their door, they wouldn’t allow themselves to receive it. Or if they did receive it, it would disappear very quickly and it would be as if they had never received it at all.
Then there is the well known belief that money is evil. So if you have a lot of money, then you will become a bad, stingy and greedy person. Good people don’t have a lot of money. Can you see how that false belief would keep you from receiving money?
I get that this can sound pretty crazy because there is that part of us that says, “I wouldn’t push money away. I really want to receive my soul mate. Why would I resist that?” That is your conscious mind speaking but 96% of our beliefs and thoughts are in our subconscious mind.
Maybe just take a moment and be curious instead. What if I am getting in my own way of receiving, I wonder how I am doing that? What beliefs am I holding and what protective mechanisms do I have that keep people, money, support etc. out? You can’t receive the answers unless you ask the questions. Be curious instead of making this something wrong with you. These are just the patterns of the human experience that we all have.
Are you ultra independent, doing it all yourself? Are you afraid you can’t handle what could come to you? Do you worry you will screw it up? Are you stuck in victim mode because you don’t want the responsibility of getting yourself out of a not so great situation? These are just a few of them. What are your habitual ways of being? Do you judge a lot? Complain a lot? Make assumptions? People please? Put everyone else first and yourself last?
When we are willing to get really honest with ourselves and look at what might be in the way, we receive opportunities to make changes that will lead to us being able to receive in the way we desire. It truly is fascinating to understand what makes us tick and behave in the ways we do.
And the best part is…the protective mechanisms are not who we really are. They are just behaviours we thought we had to take on to stay safe. And maybe they were what we needed to do as kids. But now as adults, they actually push away the very things we desire – love, support, abundance.
So what’t the answer? We can spend forever and a day analyzing the protective mechanisms and why we took them on but that doesn’t help us receive. What helps us receive is getting into our hearts.
Protective mechanisms are all about safety. They are derived from fear. So you have to decide if you want to life a safe life or an abundant life, a life or survival or a life of thriving, a life lived from fear or a life lived from love.
How do we get into our hearts? Well, it’s not being up in our heads being mental about it and trying to use logic to figure it out. Getting into your heart can be as simple as a random act of kindness. It could be giving someone a compliment. It could be writing out a thank you note. It could be asking a cashier how his/her day is going? It could be any act in response to the question “what would love do?”. And that includes what would love do for yourself. It includes giving to yourself as well as others. For those of you who have always put others first at the cost of your own wellbeing, maybe start with giving love to yourself first. Your energy exchange is out of balance, it is more energy out than in so give to yourself and fill up your tank.
Now you may be saying, Glenda, I thought we were talking about receiving here and now you are saying to get into our hearts and give. What’s up with that?
What I have come to know is that both giving and receiving require an open heart. To give, your heart must be open and to receive your heart must be open. An open heart requires dropping the protection, letting the walls down, allowing ourselves to feel and be vulnerable. Not letting ourselves feel is placing our hearts on lock down.
One of my teachers taught me a long time ago that if you desire to receive something, then give it. If you truly desire to receive love, then give love instead of protecting yourself from the possibility of getting hurt.
And this whole safety issue, of keeping ourselves protected and safe, it is an illusion. These protective mechanisms don’t really keep us safe at all. Our egos just have us believing that to be true. The safest place is actually in our hearts. It is where home is. It is where our love and our knowing is. That is the truth.
To wrap it all up, true receiving requires, being in our hearts, doing what love would do, giving to ourselves and others, letting ourselves feel and allowing ourselves to be given to.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are about receiving in the comments below. And if you are curious about how you may be resisting receiving, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to explore together.
Happy Thanksgiving/Thanksreceiving to my American friends! In the spirit of this time, may all our hearts open a little more today.