How do you feel when someone you are attracted to gives you attention? Do your feelings depend upon whether you (or they) are single? Whether you are on the street, in the office or at a party? Do they depend upon what kind of attention is given – a look of admiration, a smile, a wink, a catcall?
Ok, how about another example. What happens inside you when someone gushes in front of others about how great you are? Are you flattered, uncomfortable, touched? How do you respond? Do you demur, letting the group know you’re not really all that? Do you accept the acknowledgement uncomfortably and change the subject as soon as possible?
It’s the rare person that can receive, really RECEIVE, all the attention, acknowledgement, gratitude, praise, admiration, and even love and affection that come their way. I know because this is one I’ve been working on for a long time myself. I am much better in many areas than I used to be, and I’m more aware of when receiving still feels uncomfortable for me too. I also notice those times when on the inside my ego is strutting over an acknowledgement even though on the outside I am feigning humility. (You know what I’m talking about.)
There are many factors that contribute to our discomfort around receiving including fear and security/safety issues, our sense of worthiness, lack of confidence, feeling selfish, and even the invisible scoreboard that tells us if we accept this (compliment, gift, lunch, ride, etc.) we will be indebted to the person who gave it. This last one gives rise to concerns about if we want to (or feel obligated to) return the favor, compliment, affection or interest.
This is such a huge, and I believe, important issue that I will be launching a bigger project around receiving in the near future. I don’t know exactly when or completely what it will look like yet, but I’m beginning to get some good ideas, and I will allow divine timing to guide me. You will definitely be invited to be a part of it!
In the meantime, I invite you to practice receiving in your life in as many ways as you can. Here are a few suggestions:
Practice just saying thank you (that’s it) to all compliments no matter how small or gushy. Make eye contact and mean it. Don’t feel the need to demur or reciprocate.
Welcome all attention, affection, and love from wherever it comes knowing that it does not require you to feel the same way, to do anything to earn it or repel it, or to return it.
Notice when you feel uncomfortable. Just notice. You don’t have to analyze it to death or say or do anything about it. Just notice and perhaps be curious.
Pause whenever you are being offered something. Tune in for as long as you need to in order to feel whether or not this is something you’d like to receive.
Receiving well is not always easy, but it can improve with practice. I’m living proof. Share your practices and results with me here. Or let me know what’s challenging you, publicly or privately and I’ll give you some pointers.