How learning to receive from others increased the love I received in life.
Do you have trouble receiving compliments? Do you feel guilty or uncomfortable when someone does something for you? Do you feel like you can’t receive something without having to give something back in return? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone.
I never used to think that I had any issues with receiving until I saw it showing up in other people. If I had been able to simply observe these situations without being bothered by them, it would have been a different story. However, in reality, I felt triggered particularly in situations where I was trying to give to others and could see their struggle in receiving.
I had to ask myself why it disturbed me so much when this happened. At first glance, I could see that I felt hurt that someone else wasn’t able to receive what I was giving them. But when I looked into it further, I could see that it was a pattern that I had perpetuated myself, and seeing other people experience this difficulty reflected back my own frustration with being able to receive.
When someone gave me a compliment, I felt really awkward and would deny what they were saying. When someone gave me a present, I immediately started thinking of what I could give in return. If someone bought me a drink, I made sure I remembered it so that I could buy them one the next time.
Looking at these examples, they all seem rather innocent and benign. What’s wrong with giving back when someone has given to you or remembering what someone has done for you so that you can pay back the favour the next time? Or being “modest” when someone gives you a compliment? There’s nothing wrong with any of these actions as such on a surface level. However, it’s more about the energy and intention behind these actions.
When someone gives to you with true intention and kindness, it’s a gift of love. They want to do something nice for you because they care and really want to demonstrate this to you. When we can’t accept something of this nature, for example the compliment above, it limits our ability to really receive love. If we can’t receive love, then it limits our ability to be in a healthy relationship dynamic with others—whether it be with friends, family, or our partner.
If you’re like me, you’re probably someone who loves to give to others. There’s a real joy for me in finding a gift, for example, that I feel the other person will really enjoy. I also love to give compliments when they’re due because I genuinely feel it’s true, and I want to share it with the other person. When I give, it’s truly a gift of love and provides me with a lot of pleasure.
In the past, though, when it was the other way round and someone was doing that for me, I felt really uncomfortable. Eventually, I came to realise that giving made me feel powerful whereas when I was the one receiving, I felt vulnerable and ultimately unworthy of truly receiving this gift. It was okay if I was doing things for others but not the other way around.
It became a wall that I used to protect myself from feeling fully open to another person. It wasn’t done out of malice but out of past conditioning and also having never been taught how to receive.
What helped me to turn it around was to recognise that when I didn’t receive in a conscious and genuine manner, I denied someone else that feeling of joy that one gets when giving. Also, realising that I was limiting my ability to receive meant that I was limiting what anyone, the universe, spirit (or whatever you may call it) was able to give to me. If I genuinely wanted something in my life, but at the same time was creating a block to it, then how on earth was it meant to come to me?
None of this is about feeling bad about yet another thing that you’re not doing right in life. But rather, it’s an opportunity to open up to increasing the gifts in your life and to the love that truly surrounds you. I often see people complaining that they don’t have much love in their life, but what if the love was there, and they just weren’t able to see it and truly feel it?
If being unable to receive resonates with you, then I have some tips to help you along the way. Start off with small steps and see how you progress.
1. The most important step is awareness. When we’re conscious of what is happening, we have the ability to change it. The hardest things to change are the ones which we deny or are hidden from our consciousness.
So begin to become aware of how you are feeling and what is going through your mind and the sensations in your body. You can do this as a meditation each day to help you to observe what is happening within you for a short time each day.
This is one that I created, which could help with this. There’s nothing that you need to do other than just observe and notice.
2. After practicing step one, try to see if you can identify situations that are about receiving in some way and which you find challenging. Ask yourself why you find it hard to receive and where this belief or way of being may have come from. Just see what comes up as the first thought or first gut feeling. It might be helpful to note this down or to journal your experience.
3. Knowing the situations that cause you discomfort, what is one thing that you can change to alter future experiences? For example, maybe it’s to acknowledge and accept that this is something that you find difficult and you can be compassionate toward yourself with this understanding. Or perhaps, the next time a situation comes up (for example, someone compliments you), you can say a genuine thank you and just leave it at that and allow any discomfort to be there.
Find a way that works for you and be easy on yourself. You’re unlearning something that has been with you for many years, so it will take time to change.
Learning to receive is a really important part of life. It links into our ability to receive love and to create meaningful and genuine relationships with others. It also has a direct connection with how we feel about ourselves and our self-worth.
So if you’ve gotten this far in this article, then congratulate yourself for wanting to change and create a better life for yourself. If you practice the steps above each day (or as often as you can), it will become ingrained as a new pattern and reflex in your life—then see how your life changes!