"I think that the most difficult thing is allowing yourself to be loved, so receiving the love and feeling like you deserve it is a pretty big struggle. I suppose that's what I've learnt recently, to allow myself to be loved." --Nicole Kidman
Many of us are natural givers. We enjoy helping and supporting others. We take pride in giving and look for ways to be in service to others. But, are we as good at receiving? Only when it is a two-way street are we able to fully benefit. The same pride that we take in giving, often blocks our receiving. We would rather struggle and do it ourselves then allow others to help us.
I once heard the story of a minister, who was in the hospital after an accident which left him with two broken arms. One of his congregants came and offered to feed him his meal, but in pride he declined the congregant’s support. A nurse, who was in the room asked the minister about the interaction after the congregant left. The minister stated that it is his job to take care of his congregants and he could not allow one of them to take care of him. The nurse asked if he gave sermons about the joy of giving. The minister replied, ‘Of Course! As the Bible says, It is more blessed to give then to receive!’ But then the nurse pointed out that the minister robbed the congregant of the joy of giving by refusing to receive.
I often imagine the flow of giving to be like a water wheel. Many of us are good at giving the water, but in order for the buckets to fill, we need to receive the water from the stream. If there is a dam blocking the flow of water, we are unable to receive and will eventually have nothing to give. In our pride, many of us build a dam that blocks our ability to receive. We then give until the point of burnout. When we limit what we receive, we limit what we have to give. The wheel can't move unless it receives. Unfortunately, society seems to have the perception that it is a weakness to receive. We are told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and do it ourselves. The truth is, we are an interdependent species. We do depend on others for our survival. When we allow ourselves to receive gratefully, we are practicing self-care. We can say ‘thank you’ with a grateful heart when someone gives us a compliment, offers to pay for our lunch, or helps us with a task. We can choose to accept the support of others and keep the flow moving, instead of adding to our dam.
What blocks in receiving are you willing to remove in order to restore the flow?