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  • Lisa Coleman | Choose Joy Now Network

Is It Better To Give Or Receive?

Many of us have been raised to believe it’s better to give than receive. In order to allow joy fully in our lives we must allow ourselves to receive, but so many of us have difficulty with this. You might be thinking, “hmmpf that’s not me, I’d be happy to receive, is Oprah around the corner handing out cars?”

Before I explain further, tell me if any variation of these statements sound familiar to you:

  • Someone compliments your outfit or perhaps your smile. You say, “this old thing?” or "it helps distract people from my thighs”

  • A family member washes the dishes and you say, “hey this pot is not clean" or "why didn’t you wipe down the stove?”

  • A coworker gives you accolades about a project you led and you say, “yeah, but it took us longer to complete than I hoped”

  • You are having a hard time emotionally with a significant life change but when your good friend asks you how you are doing, you say “I’m doing fine”

These are all missed opportunities to receive. Many women have a hard time receiving regardless if it’s a compliment, accolades, emotional or general support. We may not allow ourselves to receive because:

  • we believe it’s selfish

  • we think strings are attached

  • we think we have to return the same kind gesture or act

  • the need to control things or our perfectionist thinking keep us from believing others can do something the “right” way

When faced with the opportunity to receive, practice saying, “thank you” and nothing else. Consider creating a daily practice of noticing opportunities to receive. Allow yourself to receive support from others. Start small but start and aim to practice receiving daily.

I know first-hand how life is enhanced with rich experiences and joy by allowing myself to receive. When my children were born I only allowed my husband and immediate family to babysit. This was challenging because my family lives 2 hours away and my husband’s family even further! This kept my world small and stressful. Gratefully my now good friend would frequently ask to keep my children for a few hours or overnight to play with her children. Although resistant at first, I realized this was good for us all. I also didn't want to pass down the belief to my children that they should keep their world small and “safe”. I now know it’s good to create a “village” of support.

In the end, I believe allowing myself to receive is an act of courage. Most of all, allowing myself to receive is also allowing love in. Will you allow yourself to receive?

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” ~Anais Nin

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