“How are YOU?”
A client texted this to me on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It was at the end of his response to my earlier check in to inquire how he was after a particularly challenging week.
Typically, I would have replied with a “great” or “been a good weekend,” but I found the fact he took the time and interest to ask provided a perfect opportunity to lean into a promise I had made to myself at the beginning of the month.
Let yourself receive.
So, I shared a bit about how my daughter was away for a week and how I missed her. I joked that it would be quite a day when she left to go off to college.
The truth was, I was feeling a bit pensive and sensitive that day. When I was asked how I was, I chose to receive the gesture and share, from the heart not the head, what was going on within me at that moment.
It felt good not to hide behind the facade that I was “good” and that “I’m here for you, not the other way around.”
And you know what happened? My client responded, “I’m missing my kids today, too.”
My honest reply allowed him to share a sensitive place within his heart, as well.
I do believe, as humans, we are created to be here for each other. When we give, we are meant to receive.
There is so much in this receiving piece.
The Law of Reciprocity dictates that what we put out, we shall get back.
But just because things are offered or given doesn’t always mean we are open to receiving them. This is an essential step within any cycle of reciprocity: receiving.
When someone gives us a compliment, and we quickly give one back without, first, receiving the one we have been given, it breaks the cycle. True reciprocity cannot occur without receiving before we turn to give.
Let’s look, for a moment, at the depleted nature of the world right now. Could it be we have been running on empty for far too long? We have believed, hook, line and sinker that it is BETTER to give than receive, so we have given ourselves right into dangerous states of bleeding out, entirely.
What this does, too, is create a state in which we begin to take in order to have what we need.
Takers are those who haven’t allowed themselves to receive.
Now, as the pendulum swings back, we are seeing people learning the value of giving, first, to themselves, so they have more to give to others around them. We are learning true self-care, self-value and self-love. We are learning to receive from ourselves and from others to fill up our reserves.
Holding and open-heartedly receiving any gift, whether it be verbally or physically given, is something we actually have to train ourselves to do. So much has been conditioned into us that had led us to believe it’s not okay to be on the receiving end of things.
Recently, I was in a session with a client, and something came to me in response to what the person was sharing.
What dropped in was this: the HOW is a gift we are meant to receive.
We are not meant to control the how – no matter what we have been told or taught to believe otherwise.
The more we have done this, the more strife and struggle we have created and perpetuated.
It is not up to us to control things to the nth degree. It is for us to have clarity and an openness to receive what we desire.
What is within our control is inside of us. We are meant to clarify WHAT we want and WHY we want it.
Opening ourselves to receive what we want and why will allow the how to meet us where we are.
So, what do we need to know to prepare ourselves to receive?
Here are 7 crucial steps to take in order to align ourselves with a knowledge of our value and worth, which gives us the green light to receive.
In the beginning, we don’t know what we don’t know, right? Awareness is about revealing and identifying our value. It’s about getting curious and asking the right questions to illuminate and test what’s hidden beneath the surface of the self-identity we have come to know and believe.
Some great questions to start with are:
- What am I putting out there? What beliefs, moods, words, opinions, support, information, thoughts, ideas, etc., am I sharing with the world? What, therefore, is the value I hold in the lives of the people with whom I interact? Is this congruent with who I feel I am, authentically, and who I want to be?
- What is my authentic approach (feels most natural and good) to putting my value out into the world? How do I want what I have to share to be seen, received, considered and valued?
- Where do I want to focus my output (energy expenditures)? In other words, where will my value be most valuable for both myself and others? What type of environment do I create? What type of environment do I need to best support what I want to cultivate and experience? Ideally, these environments should sync up. We want to determine where our value is best utilized and also best honored, respected, supported and received.
Once we have begun to build some awareness of our value, the next step is to enable it. If we don’t accept who we are, how do we, honestly, expect others to? Building acceptance of our value is about embracing and owning what we have to bring to the table. This is important, so that we can share what we have to give to the world and have it show up powerfully and beneficially. After all, if Superman didn’t know he could bend steel & fly, would he be in his full capacity to serve? Could others benefit as much from what he had to offer?
I talk often about the difference between expectation & intention. Expectation is about the outside world and how I want it to show up for me. Intention is about the inner world and how I want to show up for myself, so that I can fully show up in and for the world. Intention is about setting a course. It’s about knowing what our value is and having a vision for where it best serves the world.
Okay, so what is the point of having awareness, acceptance and intention if we aren’t communicating our value to others? Many believe that positive talk about oneself is akin to bragging, boasting or egoism. Of course, it depends on how you communicate what you have going for you. Knowing your gifts and being confident in speaking about what you have to give is best done with the intention to serve. When you regard it in this context, it becomes a matter of doing what you were made to do and showing up to offer what you have, naturally, to bestow.
Similarly, if we are afraid to speak up about where we aren’t being valued or if we cannot remove ourselves from situations where what we have to give is being squandered, then our gifts cannot be delivered where they will be best utilized either. For these reasons, effective communication of what we know our value to be is crucial.
There is a big difference between judgment & discernment. Judgment is about our perception of something/someone not measuring up to certain standards. Discernment is about creating, upholding, believing and seeing to our personal standards within our own lives. It is about making sure we allow in what will support and protect our value. It is also about letting go of and not letting in what does not. We can do this without judgment. It simply becomes a question of what is needed and most fitting for us. This is where boundaries are important. Knowing what best serves you; what is and is not okay for you. It is what allows you to protect, preserve, grow and practice your own, authentic value.
If you were to interview successful individuals, one of the things most would share if asked to list the key core values/practices that have led to their ability to get ahead, commitment would be at the top of that list. Commitment keeps us on course by allowing us to tap into our authentic passions & purpose. It is the dedication to showing up in our value – no matter what – and reaching for what it is we say we want and stand for the most.
7. Trust & Faith
One of my favorite Facebook shares over the past few years is an illustration of Jesus kneeling down in front of a small child who is clinging to her prized possession, a very well-loved and worn teddy bear. In one hand, behind his back where the child cannot see, Jesus holds a much larger, new and beautiful teddy bear. With his other hand, he is reaching for the little bear that the child holds. The caption above his head reads: Trust me.
In order to allow for the flow of all things towards their desired and intended places, we must have trust and faith. This is a letting go and deep knowing that all will work out. It’s a cognizance that if we have built the awareness, accepted, intentioned, communicated, practiced discernment and applied commitment, then we have done all we can do. The rest is up to what’s left beyond our small power of control.
One of the main reasons, I believe, we have failed to go through the necessary process of getting clear on the steps above is because we haven’t allowed ourselves to think about truly having what we want.
Doing the internal work to create awareness, acceptance, intention, communication, discernment, commitment, faith and trust will allow for the ability to receive, since all of these steps help to acknowledge and own our true worthiness and value.
We must feel worthy of having before we allow ourselves to receive.
Until then, we will continue to strive to prove ourselves through push, grit, sacrifice and control.
When we do the work, we realize we have nothing to prove. When we have nothing to prove, we can allow ourselves to receive the gifts of support that are ultimately meant to help us serve at our best and brightest. From this place, we are positioned to give, from the heart, all that we have to give.