I am the oldest of four children, born a fiercely independant Taurus. There were about 2 years between each of my siblings which, along with my personality and nurturing ways, dropped me comfortably in the role of “little mommy” in our household.
My mother tells me stories of my baby years when I preferred to be in my swing to being held, and of the times my brother would come crying for comfort from me rather than her. Her stories have stuck with me and I have come to realize that they unconsciously became pieces of an identity I formed for myself.
When I was a middle schooler I remember money being tight. The girls in my school were all decked out in their Esprit and Benetton clothes. I wanted to fit in so badly, but I also was very tuned in to what it was like to ask my parents for a Guess denim jacket or a pair of Vans and feel the stress in their voice as they turned me down. I remember the arguing over the pile of bills that had been ignored for a couple of months.
I made a decision in those adolescent years that I was not going to ask my parents for anything. I babysat a lot and once I turned 15 I got my first job at McDonald’s. I rode my bike so I wouldn’t have to ask my mom for a ride. I worked hard in school and earned good grades. I kept a job continuously all the way through high school and college. I taught myself how strong and capable I was.
Don’t get me wrong…I knew my parents loved me. I just didn’t equate getting stuff with love. It made me feel really good when my parents expressed their pride in my accomplishments, and to this day that feeling of making someone proud is something I crave. But what was happening over the course of all these years was,
in my extreme self-reliance I was building up a wall to receiving.
Whether or not my story rings familiar to you, I wonder if you can find within yourself your own wall to receiving.
~Maybe yours is a story of hurt or pain when you think of times you were in a position of receiving from another. Many times that looks like emotions such as guilt or shame.
~Maybe you were taken advantage of.
~Maybe you were made to feel like you didn’t deserve what it was you desired. Maybe love felt conditional to you in one of your relationships.
Our stories play such a role in our current experience with life. And this month as we talk about Love & Relationships, it’s important to look at how your story might be acting as a wall to you receiving what you truly desire in your relationships.
Many times if we put this wall in a pot and boil it down for a few hours, what we’re left with is a feeling that we’re not worthy of our desires. And when we don’t feel worthy we are not open to fully receive what our partners have to offer us, in any form.
My story of not relying on anyone else to take care of my material wants and needs resulted in a young woman with an “I’ve got this” attitude. Throw in some modern day feminism, and I found myself feeling much safer in a world that didn’t involve partnering with anyone. But here’s the thing…I was lonely. I was lonely and I was sad and I didn’t really know it, because I hadn’t allowed myself to experience life any other way. I had blocked myself from that feeling of rejection that I learned can happen when you ask for what you want. I had blocked myself from the feeling that I was the cause of stress in people that I loved because of my desires.
I’ve done a lot of work around this, and remaining open to receiving is still a daily practice for me. I am fortunate to be in a relationship where I know my partner wants to give to me. Whether it’s a hug, doing the laundry, providing financially for our family, or paying me a compliment…I know that when I openly receive what he has to offer me I am in turn giving a gift to him.
That is the essence of receptivity. In receiving we give, and in giving we receive. Without conditions.
That is love.
Our job is not to expect something from our partner, but to be as open as we can be to receiving the love they have to offer us.