Are You as Good at Receiving as You Are Giving?

“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” ― Alexander McCall Smith

Have you ever had someone pay you a compliment and you wipe it away and proceed to tell them why they are incorrect? I’ve witnessed it many times. It’s usually women. Someone will say, “You look really nice today.”

She will smile and say, “This dress is old. I didn’t do anything special”, instead of owning the compliment and agreeing with the person.

We all focus on and talk about giving, but what about receiving? It’s rarely discussed, but it can be a huge hurdle to intimacy if you can’t accept and receive. It’s usually the people who are the most helpful to others who have the hardest time receiving. When I talk about receiving, it can be something as big as gifts or something as simple as a compliment. But, most people have a difficult time receiving help and love without realizing that they are standing in the way of two things they desire.

I used to have a friend who would refuse to allow anyone to give him gifts for his birthday. I tried to explain to him that his friends and family wanted to express their love for him with their gifts. He was more concerned with them wasting their money on him. But, I tried to get him to understand that it was less about the money for them and more about them feeling like they were apart of his happiness and expressing their love. By rejecting the gifts, he was also not allowing them show their love.

We also show love by showing up for one another in our time of need. If someone is in a difficult situation and you have something to give, you feel like you are caring for that person. If you are the type of person who doesn’t turn to anyone and only depends on yourself, you are not allowing others to show that they care about you. Everyone wants to feel needed.

When you receive love as it is given, you deepen the intimacy between you and that person. It can be a friendship, family member or lover, but it’s important to take your turn in receiving as well as giving. Sometimes, that person just wants to see your face light up, because giving makes them feel good. If you know the joys of giving, you have to allow others to feel that joy as well.

Are you a good receiver? The next time someone offers a compliment, just say, “Thank you.” Try it and see how it feels.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” ― Brené Brown


Could Arguing Be Killing Your Relationships?

How often have you kept an argument going even after you knew you were wrong? Do you argue to release tension? Do you know that it is killing your relationship? I used to think that I had a right to argue, to yell and scream if my feelings were hurt. But, I didn’t realize the toxicity that seeps into the relationship when you allow yourself to burst into anger when you feel justified. The person that is your constant outlet may stay with you and be your emotional punching bag, but you are eroding the intimacy in the relationship.

What I have learned is that you have to find a more respectful way to express your feelings. I have learned that if I am angry that it’s not the time to express myself. My anger is a sign that I need to sit with myself and figure out what triggered my anger response. Once I have worked out my own feelings, I can sit down with the person and discuss my feelings. I can’t blame the other person for my response. I can discuss their actions and how I was affected by them. I can ask the person to avoid those actions that trigger my anger, but I cannot make the other person responsible.

I have also embraced these two words: I’m wrong. I was absolutely resistant to these words. I wanted to be right all the time because being right means that I am in control. I have learned to let go of control. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who has to be right all the time and by any means necessary. It leaves no room for communication. It leaves no room for the other personality in the relationship. So, I have learned that there are times when I have to acknowledge that I could be wrong. I have to make a safe space for the other person in the relationship to be himself or herself.

Some things to think about:

What are You Fighting About?

It might seem like it is that dish that the person left in the sink. The truth is probably that you are feeling unappreciated and you need some help. Instead of launching into a tirade about how lazy the person is, get to heart of the problem. How does it make you feel when the person is not helping you, because you are not really feeling anger. Anger is an emotion that hides a more vulnerable emotion like disappointment, fear or sadness.

Is the Person being Mean on Purpose? 

Before you make the person responsible for your feelings, think about if they have malicious intent. Do you think that sock is on the floor because that person made a conscious decision to see you pissed off and breathing like a dragon? Is it more possible that it was simply carelessness? The sad truth is that people are rarely thinking about someone else when they make an action. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t let the other person off the hook. But, instead of looking at it as a crime against you, you can see it as a moment to teach love. Teach the person how to love you through their actions and thoughts.

Don’t Fight the Battle to Lose the War

Remember that arguing serves to erode love and trust. The person can’t trust your reactions anymore and then begins walking on eggshells around your emotions. Choose your battles wisely. If someone is doing something incredibly hurtful to you, then I believe that you may have an argument to get across the severity of the action and emotional pain. But, for simple differences in how you would do things versus how they would do it, you can sit down and have a conversation. When someone is hurting your feelings through differences in perceptions, it is an opportunity to teach love.

If you love the person and they love you, you should not trample all over each others’ emotions. Love is about making space. Love is allowing someone else’s view of the world to exist and expand along with your own. If you aren’t learning together, the chances are that you aren’t growing together and growth is key to maintaining a loving relationship.


Healing a Relationship Even When You Feel Wronged

Last night, I had a dream that I approached someone and the person snubbed me. I actually woke up angry and feeling annoyed with the person. The dream felt so real that for a moment I thought I was remembering the moment instead of creating it in a dream.Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had a dream and felt all the feelings that go with the experience in the dream?

I thought about what if I was angry at that person for what they did in my dream? What if I held against them my version of their behavior? It sounds silly, right? But, our perception shapes what we believe about the actions of another person. We give meaning to their actions and reactions based on our own beliefs and insecurities. As silly as it sounds to blame someone for what they have done in a dream, you are often blaming them for what they have done in your head.

As a woman, I can create a whole story about someone who doesn’t match their intentions at all. I’ve been in discussion with other women that are describing how thoughtless their mate is. As I dig deeper, I find out that they had expectations that they never communicated to their boyfriend of husband. The conversation could go something like this:

Her: He’s so selfish. I do everything. He could wash a dish or do something nice for me.

Me: Have you told him that you want him to help you?  Have you told him that you want him to do something nice for you?

Her: No, he should know. Why should I have to tell him?

Me: Maybe, he’s not thinking that way.

This conversation was usually followed by an eye-roll on her part and more of a discussion about expressing her feelings to her mate rather than being mad at him. We, often, judge people’s actions and reactions based on what we would do in the same situation. But, you are the only you that exists on the earth so you can’t expect everyone else to do things the way that you would. You have to make space for people to have their own reasoning and intentions.

The easiest way to find out someone’s intentions is to ask the person. Communication is important in every area of  life. Sometimes, leaving things open to interpretation allows for the wrong message to fill the space between two people. When you feel wronged, don’t immediately go to protecting yourself. You should try to figure out if the person meant to hurt you or if you experienced it as hurt because of your perception. The person may have been thoughtless, careless or selfish, but it doesn’t mean that they intended to hurt you. This moment could be a teachable moment. It could be a moment for you to understand why you felt the way you felt and for you to allow that person to heal you in that moment by showing you love and sympathy. You rob both of you of that opportunity if you only demonize them for their actions.

“We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.”- Ian Percy

Is there a relationship you could heal today? Can you express your feelings to someone who you feel wronged you? Share it in comments.