Are You Blocking Your Capacity To Receive?

I went to a talk by The Fairy Godmother, aka Donna McCallum, on The Art of Receiving.

Your (in)ability to receive has a profound impact on the quality of your life. Women in particular struggle with receiving graciously, of the 30 or so people who were at the talk, only 3 were men.

The reason I was at the talk was that fully appreciating the importance of receiving graciously (read article on the importance of receiving, here) it is still a skill I’ve yet to master. I prefer giving to receiving and a couple of days before I went to the talk I realised that my reluctance to receive is a control issue. The way I see it, when you are the giver you call all the shots, what you are giving, to whom and why? Receiving on the other hand, for me, has too many unknowns. Why is this being given to me? What strings are attached? It leaves me too vulnerable, an emotion I am uncomfortable with. So, personally I avoid receiving because it brings up issues of Trust – regarding the motives of the giver – and Control.

Other people in the talk shared their reasons for being reluctant receivers:
– “I feel unworthy of what I am being given”
– “I was taught that it is better to give than to take”
It is interesting that people see the opposite of giving as taking. The opposite or complement of giving is receiving. Taking is something else entirely; taking does not require a giver.
– “I don’t like feeling like a charity case”
– “I feel like I should be able to provide for myself and not have to rely on others”
– “I feel obliged to give something back”
– “I don’t like feeling like I owe someone, so I give them back more than they gave me”

A reluctance to receive can cause you to miss out on a lot of gifts and growth. Listening, for instance, is a form of receiving and when you are a bad listener you miss out on a lot of constructive feedback and information.

Are you a good receiver? If not, do you know what issues stand between you and receiving? Giving and receiving go together like breathing, you cannot exist entirely on an inhale (receiving) and you will expire very quickly if all you do is exhale (giving).

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