by Star Staubach
As a mother, you’re a natural giver. You give to your immediate and extended families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and organizations, and volunteer your time at your kids’ school. The list can go on and on. By nature, you are a giver. That part you do really well, even if you beat yourself up about wanting to do more. One key element holds you back from giving more: your ability (or lack thereof) to receive.
I recently gave birth to my third child. Moms, you’ve been there, right? Sleep deprived, exhausted, and if you’re anything like me this leads to being edgy, emotional and left with little to no motivation to do anything other than rest and snuggle your new baby. Your body knows that you’re unable to provide basic needs for yourself, let alone your child, if you’re not well rested and filled up.
Ok, by now you may be saying, “Sure, easier said than done. How do I make this practical for the everyday life of a busy mother?” Great question! I’m glad you asked! It starts with your ability to be able to RECEIVE. You’re beautiful. Amazing. Talented. BRILLIANT! Notice the mind chatter that starts when reading those statements. What is your first instinct? Do you read those words and soak them in as a truth? Do you neglect them and start to tell yourself a story about, “She doesn’t know me, this isn’t for me, she’s just writing that to make a point.” The chatter is very telling. This is how you react when others give you an opportunity to receive something as simple as a compliment.
Taking it one step further, consider what you’d do if a neighbor calls and mentions that she made a double batch of dinner and wants to bring some over for you and the family.
A. Accept graciously and say, “THANK YOU”.
B. Thank her for her offer, but gently refuse it, saying, “Thanks for thinking of us, but I’ve got dinner planned already.”
C. Kindly accept with an added comment, “Really? I cannot accept that. Really? Are you sure? I’ll have to repay you.”
D. Pass the offer to someone else who could use it more than you?
E. Accept it, but feel slightly guilty thinking, “She doesn’t have extra time to provide us with meals. I better mark it on my calendar to repay the favor.”
How you respond to these scenarios can be very telling about how much effort you are putting into GIVING and how much you are depriving yourself – and others – of the opportunity to receive. You cannot possibly go to your bank and expect to make a withdrawal without first having made a deposit. Yet, this is exactly what you do with your own energy by giving, giving, giving, giving, without allowing space for yourself to receive. This is not a simple conversation about self-care; this is not a luxury. Time for you to receive is a necessity, one that your family needs you to take seriously. How many mothers do you know who will wait until something major happens before they allow themselves to receive? A hospital visit? Giving birth to a baby? Serious illness in the family?
Allowing yourself to fully receive from your loved ones, community, family, friends, co-workers, etc., is the very best gift you could give them. Being filled up with love, encouragement, support, compliments and gifts enables you to give more.
Take a vow that you will help to reshape the way that receiving is viewed in society. It is not selfish, weak, or greedy. It is in fact a service to you and those you love.
Three powerful ways you can start to activate your receiving practice (and it IS a practice!):
1. Identify both the spoken and unspoken desires that you have. If you have unspoken desires, such as a weekend away with your spouse, an evening out with the girls, a day of luxurious pampering as a Mother’s Day gift, a foot massage from your husband, a meal prepared by someone other than you at least two times a week. Harboring these desires is not only unfair to you, it is also unfair to your loved ones. They want to give you what you want. Clearly articulating what you want is the first step in allowing this dynamic to shift.
2. Once your desires have been identified, it is time to take action – ASK for what you want. Notice, the action is to ask. It is not demanding or expecting. How often do you anticipate the response being “no”, so you hold back from asking in the first place? If you don’t fear the response, you may fear being a burden, appearing weak or flat-out not feeling comfortable with allowing someone to give to you. This pattern keeps you from receiving and deprives others of the opportunity to give to you in a meaningful and powerful way.
3. Say YES. Keep breathing. I get it, there are old patterns, neural pathways in the brain even, which may prevent you from allowing yourself to fully receive. Changing this may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. If you truly seek to shift your relationship with giving/receiving, this is an important step to practice, repeatedly. Allow gifts, compliments, offers, and invitations. Say “YES!” and keep breathing through it. Notice when it feels uncomfortable to receive an offer that is being presented. Notice the mind chatter, the immediate reaction, and allow yourself to choose something different. SAY YES!
Star is on a mission to inspire women to ignite their brilliance in every aspect of their lives. She wears many hats: life coach and owner of Ignite Radiance, radio show host, international motivational speaker, and proud mother of two daughters and a son. Star “gets it” when it comes to balancing family, work, play, and self-care. In fact, she learned the hard way so she could make it easy for her clients! A certified life coach, she has spent two decades of study in personal development. Star has helped many women (and insightful men) move from overwhelm to living the radiant lives they are meant to live!
Visit her at www.igniteradiance.com