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How to Tone Your Receiving Muscles

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot about lately is the concept of receiving. It is a theme that often arises in my work with clients because it is struggle for many of them. Receiving, be it a worthy fee from clients, a raise or promotion from an employer, and/or support from the people in our lives—financial and otherwise—can create what one of my clients so aptly termed, the squirm.

Women in particular have difficulty with receiving. For example, think about how you respond when someone gives you a compliment. Are you the type to say “I’ve looked better” when a friend compliments you on your appearance? As women, we are raised with cultural messages to put others’ needs before our own, to not really know and honor our own needs, and/or to feel indebted if we do receive. Our identity as women often entails being a caretaker of others, not leaving much room for receiving any care.

However, in a balanced life, giving and receiving are actually two sides of the same coin. When they are practiced with openness and sincerity, giving and receiving are both generous acts, through which our connection to others deepens, leaving our lives more enriched. There is an art to receiving, and as we become more comfortable with it, we realize and appreciate that it is a joy for others to give. By not accepting the gifts of others, we are actually robbing them of this pleasure.

In addition, constantly giving is not as selfless as we have been taught, because if you simply give and never allow yourself to receive, you cannot nurture yourself and replenish your ability to give. Think about it: by refusing small things in your life, such as a compliment, or someone holding the door for you when your arms are full of packages, it actually makes it harder to receive even larger gifts that may present themselves to you. If we are unable to be open to what is freely and generously offered, we will have at least that much difficulty with attracting more abundance into our lives, on all levels.

How might blocking the receipt of something be serving you in some way? Well, as mentioned above, it helps avoid the discomfort of the squirm. And, as long as we are focused on giving, we don’t have to deal with the issue of what we deserve to receive, as well as any feelings of vulnerability or dependency on others that might arise in the act of receiving. These are some of the core issues that my clients are able to unravel and resolve in our work together, and it is my privilege to be their personal trainer as they “bulk up their receiving muscles!” 

Financially Smitten Call to Action for You Today:

So, what’s a girl to do? What are some of the steps in this training program? Well, as with all change, start with baby steps:

  • Begin by simply becoming aware of the many and varied ways your world offers up things, and note your response. You may not even know how much is coming your way!

  • Say, “Yes, thank you!” when these opportunities present themselves. This means starting with any baby step that will expand your comfort zone around receiving—be  it your partner offering to pick up dinner, your neighbor asking if she can walk your dog when you are sick, or perhaps simply that compliment about your new fabulous haircut.

  • Watch out for the appearance of the squirm, and sit through it. This is actually a sign that your receiving muscle is getting stronger. You may want to have an affirmation, such as, I am entitled to receive the generosity of others, to help you through these moments.
  • Practice and have fun! Watch someone’s face light up when you gratefully accept something they have offered. This is about you actually giving them the opportunity to give!