Before we get to the HOW, we must rumble with the WHY.
One of the most common stumbling blocks for my clients, those looking for love AND those who are in relationships, is the ability to truly receive love from others.
Difficulty with receiving, is not limited solely to the women, however, by far, it effects my female clients far more often than my male clients. Of the women I coach, those who are mothers, suffer most. Struggling to receiving love, appreciation and time from others can be a massive roadblock, we must clear, in order to position them in the place to attract the right partner for them AND to give and receive love, like never before in their relationships.
So why is mostly ‘a women’s issue’? And why in the world, are Mum’s the worst receivers?
Because, we are the best givers.
Women in general, are the not socialized nor taught to be very good receivers. In fact, quite the opposite. From a very young age, we begin training, to be nurturers and givers. We push our little mini pram with its dolly down the street proudly, and the praise received for being such good carers, starts young. From as little as 3 years old, we begin to define our self-worth, by how well we care for others. OR, in this case, for dolly. Little girls are often given the role of minder or babysitter, for their siblings, way younger than boys. And, I meet VERY few little boys who are running their very own babysitting empire by age 13… like I was. In fact, I haven’t met or heard about a single one! That is not to say their isn’t a 13 year old boy out there, running his very own version of The Babysitters Club however the rare exception does not negate the fact that even that famous series of books, features girls and is geared towards girls!
Under traditional gender roles, we are encouraged to provide for others, through acts of great service. We cook, clean, chase children to and fro, take leading roles in selecting schools for our children, their hobbies, play dates. I would love to type here that up until the 1950’s-1970’s we were also the sole care takers of the adult men in our lives, however I think saying ‘up till’ is pretending like that expectation is firmly in the past, and, for many, it’s not.
And the ultimate well in which we are expected and applauded for pouring all of our time, energy, spirit and even money into… is parenting.
When I am working with single Mums, who are looking for love, the struggle is realAF. On most days, you are indeed the sole carers for your children with little choice in taking the leading role. Often, the children, become a focal point for all our love. Here is someone who consciously, or unconsciously we have decided, won’t hurt us, abandon us or think we are anything less than Super Woman. Well, at least till their about 15, then it’s anyone’s guess what the teen version of them, will think of us.
Even the love, we should be showing ourselves, gets bumped down the priority list, to meet their needs, wants and desires, first. Some common battle cries I hear… “I do really want to take this course, but I’m saving to take the kids to Disney!” OR “A weekend yoga retreat?!?! I desperately need that BUT I don’t have time or money for that! Now, piano lessons for little Susie, that I HAVE to find the money for!”
Sound vaguely familiar, dearest one?
Now let’s play this careGIVER role out in our adult relationships.
Another very common tale I hear, is of women who call me absolutely mystified when their partner or new beau has legged it. They did EVERYTHING for them! Who was there when their mom died?? You! Who helped them re-write their CV so they could land that dream job?? YOU! Who encouraged, loved, cared for and GAVE to them everything a human could ask for? YOU! So why? WHY DID THEY LEAVE AFTER YOU DID ALL THAT!?!?
Ready for a truth bomb?
Deep breathes. Here it comes. These traditional gender roles, have been messing with hetero normative relationships, and hindering their success, for millennia! Cause guess what? We are raising our men to be providers! The great hunters! So when we do all the providing AND we can’t allow ourselves to receive?!? YIKES! Game over! There is a deep rooted phycology that simply cannot connect in a loving relationship, if one person is doing all the giving and the other person is not being allowed OR challenged to provide.
Sorry, ladies. I have to drop another big and painful truth bomb… to complete this picture.
When we GIVE we feel more in control. When we have to receive, we feel less in control and way more vulnerable. BOOM. Giving can be smoke screen we use, to incubate ourselves from being disappointed and hurt.
NOW LET'S GET TO THE HOW!
Learning how to receive is paramount to participating in a healthy, successful relationship. The steps to do so are simple, however not always so easy to master.
Step 1 – We need to come to believe we are worthy to receive.
Step 2 – We must break the association that our self-worth, (that we will only be enough), to our ability to give. We have to feel confident, that we are still enough, whether we give or not.
Step 3 – We need to become way more discerning about to whom, and why we give.
Step 4 – We have to slowly start to open up to receive. Heck, most of can barely receive a compliment without trying to side step to shoo it away!
Step 5 – We have to allow others to do for us. We have to relinquish the control, that comes with giving, and lean into the courage and vulnerability it takes to receive.
Step 6 – We need to start with us, first. We must start caring for ourselves, and bumping SELF LOVE and SELF CARE, way up the priority list!
If you want to become a better receiver, and therefore position yourself to not just attract but keep the love you deserve, be brave, and take the above steps!
Please do engage deeply with compassion and care for yourself. We are slowly re-educating ourselves, learning a new way to be seen and to be loved. It won’t happen overnight, and some days will be better than others, by far. And that’s okay. Step by step, inch by inch, we open our hearts and minds to being able to truly receive, love.