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December 12, 2013

How to Receive Love.

Warning: Naught language ahead!

It should be as simple as opening your arms and welcoming it, right?

It should come easily to those of us who believe we give it freely. We’re all here to give and receive, so what’s the problem?

We’re our own worst enemy when it comes to the ways we block love. How often do we look with disdain when love appears to come without a struggle? For some of us, at least the ones who can’t seem to welcome it without a fight, we judge it.

We feel unworthy of love’s tender charms. We roast in the hellfire of having someone in our life who cannot give it to us and we blame him or her, feel rejected and constantly question what we’re doing!

I’ve been here and at times I still struggle.

In the past, I attracted people who mirrored me, who couldn’t receive love and therefore I’d put on my best show, my best dress and try to win them over. Perhaps, I’d get a few pats on the head or some other breadcrumbs, but nothing resembling anything I gave to them. I worked my ass off trying to get them to love me and completely frustrated by my efforts, I would sooner or later give up!

Inevitably, they’d come back around, hoping I’d put on another show, hoping this time they could receive the love I had to give, but the story always ended the same.

These men mirrored me.

They believed they had to work hard too. They would look to the most impossible person around them…the one they felt they had to squeeze love out of, who was crazy, mean or rejecting and focus their efforts there. It would leave me scratching my head, with all the love I had to give them, why oh why, couldn’t they send any my way?

It was a quandary. First, I had to realize I had an aversion to accepting or receiving love, meaning every time someone did something nice for me or complimented me. I had to recognize my reaction. That was big! It made me wonder, when would I think I was good enough to receive what others were offering?

And the journey to find out how to receive love began…

I started valuing myself. I gave loving kindness to me, in turn; I felt less of that painful emptiness. That horrible self-rejecting feeling started to diminish. At the same time, I was able to recognize my non-loving ways. I saw clearly the men I attracted preferred the struggle of trying to get the “impossible” to love them; I know, because when I was “impossible” that’s when they’d show their love to me.

We laced up our dancing shoes to get caught up in the yo-yo game. Do you know that one? Well, when you can’t receive love its what you do—the push/pull, the fall off the face of the Earth and re-appear game.

Anything to create distance, all the while yearning for intimacy. Hoping for some chance, change or flicker of light from our beloved and that’s why it never changes. It’s not about them; it’s about you; it’s about me.

We deny ourselves love; we invest in someone with a wall that matches our wall, because no one can make it safe enough for us to receive love, except ourselves.

Look at how we stay in loveless marriages and relationships, where we’re ignored and we stay longer than we need to, perhaps waiting for the other person to welcome us back with open arms…and it never happens, ever, because they mirror us.

It’s a feeling we’re used to from our earliest relationships, one interlaced with disappointment, frustration, sadness, rejection, and loneliness; it’s probably been there since we were kids, so now what?

Vulnerability.

I’d be vulnerable—feel close, intimate and then want to cut off, cut out or cut down the good feeling, before it overwhelmed me and took me out of my own self-induced misery or worse took me to an unknown place, where I couldn’t handle the loss of control. I couldn’t handle the feeling of being open to rejection, from wanting to receive that love. I’d make excuses. I believed if I stayed open to receiving love with a man, he’d find me unworthy, unlovable and toss me aside.

How do we survive the vulnerability required?

Feeling we don’t deserve love, keeps us from opening to our vulnerability.

Believing we can’t handle the inevitable pain ahead makes us create more pain, by denying ourselves. We can’t fix this in another, we cannot force them to receive or give love, and all we can do is look at where we block love, where we say “no.”

One way to be open to receiving is to stop creating stories and excuses. Removing our mental energy from trying to analyze the thoughts of another, as to why they do what they do or assuming we understand a story about them that they have never told, will help us to remove the barriers we have in the way.

When we stop pointing the finger outside of us to nonexistent circumstances and instead make a decision to be of love, we change our position.

Accepting our insecurities, we stop beating ourselves up for all the protection, gyrations and running away we do and instead, stand still to receive love. It’s then that we don’t know where it’ll come from, we can’t strategize or pretend, we must be present, honest and admitting the truth.

We must stop destroying ourselves through the relationships we have with another, meaning the giving without receiving or receiving without giving. The walls, the obstacles, the lack of perfection, the childish games meant to protect no one, we must give it all up.

This is how to receive love with open arms.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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