The Receiving End

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“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart.” 

— Brene Brown

“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”

— Billy Graham

Giving is easy.  Television, radio, magazines, even movie public service announcements tell us how our time and/or money can benefit a huge array of deserving issues.  Giving generously is an important spiritual discipline, and doing purposeful things, including giving, is one of the basic requirements of being happy in life.

With all the options and suggestions we receive, giving is easy.  It’s receiving that’s hard.

Too often we dismiss compliments because on some level, we don’t feel we deserve them.  Unfortunately, this knee-jerk reaction to deflecting praise easily segues into other aspects of our lives.  We won’t allow other people to do things for us.  We don’t want to be a “bother.”  Drill down deeper – and you’ll likely discover you don’t feel worthy of the gift someone is attempting to give to you.

Maybe you feel you’ll be obligated to give them something even bigger and better, or you feel vulnerable.  So you refuse to accept what’s being offered to you – even if what’s being offered is love.  After all, you might reason, maybe they’ll stop loving you, and eventually leave. The deflection you mistakenly think is keeping you “safe” in reality is keeping you “isolated.”

It’s time to heal that old behavior.

One of the most powerful classes taught in the body-mind-spirit program at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego and Austin, TX, is “You Validation.”  The entire class sits in a circle, and one person is picked to start off the exercise.  Their job is to listen as, one by one, the others in the circle pay them a compliment.  Their only response must be, “Thank you.” 

Whether it’s the shirt they’re wearing, or the way they helped someone during lunch, or a funny comment they made – whatever it is about them that’s being complimented, they can only reply, “Thank you.”  The exercise is always profoundly moving as people are forced to confront their own reluctance or even fear about accepting from others.  When they can release their resistance, the inner joy and validation they feel is transformational.

Author, speaker and life coach Martha Beck, who earned her master’s and PhD in sociology from Harvard, says we can’t be emotionally healthy without being able to receive.  If we don’t, she says, we will be remaining “…. chronically empty, prone to addiction, obsession, codependency, or an eternal psychological hunger that’s never quite satisfied.”1

An effective way to retrain yourself to be a gracious receiver, she suggests, is to pick something you’ve received – your beautiful hands, for instance, or a memento from a friend or loved one, or even the love that precipitated that memento.  Contemplate it, feel the emotion of it, and say, from the heart, “Thank you for this gift.”  Be in the moment to appreciate it, express deep gratitude, and reflect on how wonderful it feels to know you truly deserve this.  It can be the beginning of an empowered, joyful new way to live your life.

Learn more about experiencing validation and healthy balance when you cleanse your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit at OHI.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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