Aspire Magazine: Inspiration for a Woman's Soul.(TM) Dec/Jan 2019 Aspire Magazine Final - Page 49

Giving feels good...but how about receiving? How good are you at the art of receiving? If you are not sure how to answer that question, think about a time recently when someone gave you a compliment. How did you receive it? Did you accept it graciously with a thank you, or did you respond in some way that minimized what was shared or deflected the compliment all together? If you are anything like me or many of the clients I have worked with over the past twenty-five years, receiving does not come naturally. When you are a proud member of the “Nurture Everyone Else First Club,” not only is receiving not part of how you orient yourself in the world, it can actually feel uncomfortable. 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.” Giving provides us an opportunity to feel purposeful, meaningful, and connected. It allows us to express our love for others in concrete and practical ways. Giving gifts is one way we nurture others, but there are so many other ways including the gift of our time, sharing food, taking care of and supporting others, and remaining open and loving. – ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH As a result, even receiving a compliment can be challenging. When we attach our identity to being a giver, we actually block the possibility of receiving. The longer we stay in the cycle of giving but not receiving, the more stressed, exhausted, and eventually burned out we become. The joy we felt in the giving drains away and we start feeling resentful and unappreciated. We actually diminish our ability to give by not receiving, as we have less to give and the quality of our giving is diminished by the energy of resentment, obligation, and bitterness attached to the giving. When we are drained but still giving, we may expect to be acknowledged and appreciated for our generous giving, and if that does not happen we can feel even more resentment, anger, and disconnection. Since our giving is rooted in nurturing people we love and care about, feeling disconnected can be profoundly painful and decrease the sense of purpose our giving usually provides. Another contributing factor is our cultural heroine - the 49