This blog is intended to create a dialogue about learning to receive with grace and ease.

So much has been written about the importance of giving that we forget that in order to give,

someone has to be receiving.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Skillful Living

I like the idea of living skillfully. I remember hearing one of my all-time favorite teachers, the late Dr. Leo Buscalia, talk about his college course on love, stating that he felt we could all benefit from being taught how to love effectively. I agree, and I think the same could be said about the value of learning to live effectively. There are skills, techniques, and practices that when applied make life easier and more joyful. The practice of receiving with grace and ease is certainly life enhancing.

In my daily experiences I see how people’s lives are improved when they receive what’s offered. My college students’ grades climb when they receive and apply my feedback. I recall friends recovering from injuries or surgery whose bodies healed more quickly when they learned to receive help from their families. My clients’ work-life balance is enhanced when they let go and accept help from others, as appropriate. The caregivers I work with get the respite they need when they allow their care-receivers’ family members to provide assistance occasionally. My coworkers’ moods lift when they receive compliments on their performance or even their appearance.

Yes, being able to receive with grace and ease is a life skill to be developed and used regularly. This week, observe your skill level in this area and see if it’s something you could improve upon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Helpful Habits

I stopped by my local Weight Watchers center yesterday for my monthly weigh-in and saw a poster on the wall entitled: Helpful Habits. Since helping people create and sustain healthy habits is the primary mission of Nurture You, this caught my eye. I took particular notice of the first and last items on the list.

The first habit was to ask for help. This is so relevant to learning to receive with grace and ease, because asking for help implies we’re willing to accept it. If you find it difficult to receive in general, why not give this habit a try with something small, such as asking for assistance carrying something or help with the dishes? Perhaps someone you live with could run an errand for you or take out the recycling tonight. Allow yourself to accept the help, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Taking small steps is often a successful way to build a new habit.

The last item on the list of habits was to take care of yourself. This could involve receiving from someone else, as discussed above, or it could be mean receiving from yourself. How do you give to yourself? Have you ever been told to cut yourself some slack? The 1971 book, How to Be Your Own Best Friend, comes to mind, as does the reminder I received years ago to talk to myself the way I would to my best friend. I often work with clients on learning to say “no” to requests that don’t serve them or to let what they’ve done be enough. These are all things I continue to remind myself of and are ways you can give to yourself.

Learning to receive with grace and ease is an ongoing process for many of us, and like any skill we work at, it gets easier. Let’s acknowledge our discomfort with receiving, and do it anyway so it becomes a habit.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gracious Receiving

“There are times in life when we have to be a gracious receiver.”
Michelle Duggar

Do you recognize who made this statement? Michelle Duggar is the mother of 19 children; she and her family are featured on 19 Kids and Counting shown on cable television’s TLC network. In the past two years, Michelle has undergone some life-threatening health challenges in addition to giving birth to her latest baby at just 25 weeks of gestation. She knows what she is speaking about when she talks about the need to receive graciously.

My research showed that serious illnesses and accidents force many people into a condition of having to receive. However, if you think about it, every single person on the planet was born needy and had to receive to survive. Some degree of neediness continued for many years and in some respects never leaves us. While most of us learn to make exchanges for the basic necessities of life, the things on Maslow’s lower levels of his Hierarchy of Needs such as food and shelter, higher needs on his pyramid cannot necessarily be bought or acquired by exchange – esteem, friendship and love. It’s true that we usually arrive at states of high self esteem, friendship, and love through a process of giving and receiving, but haven’t you experienced people unwilling to receive your gestures of friendship or love?

Although some people may not admit it, to be healthy and thrive, we all need love. We need someone to care about us and for us, whether we’re able to give them anything first, or in exchange, or not. To live a rich and full life, we simply must learn to be a gracious receiver.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why Do You Give?

For those who prefer giving over receiving, let me ask you, “Why do you give?” Have you ever thought about this? If I brainstormed this question with a group, I expect we’d list reasons such as: it feels good; because it’s better to give than to receive; to avoid feeling guilty about receiving; because I can – I have the time, the money, the talent, etc.; because people need me to; to express my gratitude; and because others have given to me. We also might get some less than positive reasons such as I give because I have to, it’s expected of me, or some other variation of “I’m obligated to.”

What do you think about giving so you can receive? Having studied this process, I know it’s not possible to give without receiving, as I’ve said a number of times. When we feel the need to receive, is it wrong or perhaps counterproductive to give as a way to increase our likelihood of receiving what we need? I don’t think so. First of all, I can’t forget what I know. I know giving will facilitate my receiving. I can’t blindly give without at least a passing thought that I might be more inclined to receive, especially if my need is pressing. Second, I think we rarely are so single-minded that we do things for only one reason. I give for many of the reasons I listed above, so if one of the reasons I give is so that I can receive more easily, so be it. Finally, lots of prosperity teachers, Catherine Ponder for one, suggest giving more as one of many ways we can enhance the flow of good into our lives.

The important thing is the spirit with which we give. Ideally it’s not out of obligation or just so that we can receive more, but rather because we can, we truly want to, and we know everyone will be blessed as a result.