If you are like me, you grew up with the message that good girls give and care for others. Good girls, who please adults, can meet others’ needs without asking questions, being difficult, and always with a smile.
I saw the women all around me work hard, provide for the family, and never complain. I saw women get up early, stay up late, work inside and outside the home, and always say yes when something more was asked of them.
These women were my friends’ moms, women in the church I grew up in, my family members, basically everyone I knew. There were a few women who didn’t fit this mold, but it was very clear how “those women” were perceived by other people. These were women who were independent, had strong boundaries, weren’t always agreeable, or were busy working higher paying jobs. They were viewed as difficult and definitely outside the boundaries of what women were supposed to be like. They were judged, ostracized, criticized, and labeled as selfish. I feel really sad when I think of these women now. It must have been so hard to stick to who they knew they were and stand out from the norms of the extremely conservative southern culture I grew up in.
I am so grateful to have known these ladies. I have used their strength many times as I trailblaze my own path and continue to untangle myself from the manipulative and distorted view of who I was required to be to be acceptable in my culture. I am still confused about why it is so hard to just allow people to be. To allow women to be. Men, children… people… to just be. Be who you are. Isn’t it so fun when you are with someone who is fully alive? When I am with people who are comfortable in their skin and just enjoy and love life, I feel more comfortable in my skin and I enjoy and love life too. It still doesn’t come completely naturally to me. I am still unwinding from the toxic brainwashing of my early years, but I have more days than not where I am connected to me and living in freedom.
One of the biggest keys to me getting there was learning the art of receiving. I have been a giver my whole life. It wasn’t even that I would ignore my needs, I was fully convinced that I didn’t have any needs. I was so proud of the fact that I was just one of those humans who didn’t have needs. I thought this was a thing. Believing this solved a problem for me long ago. Early in my life, like so many other women, the message was clear – take care of others and don’t be needy. When we are kids and we have needs that are not met, we are faced with a crisis. We have to connect with the adults in our lives to survive, but we aren’t allowed to connect based on our own needs, like we are naturally designed to do. We solve this crisis by convincing ourselves that we don’t have needs. Then we can connect to the adults in our lives based on their needs, and it gives us the safe and secure feeling we need to survive as children.
As we continue to mature we hyper-develop our ability to meet others’ needs. The ability to recognize and have our own needs met remains completely dormant. It’s like a muscle that is never used, and we carry this pattern on throughout our teenage years and into adulthood. Our subconscious mind finds all kinds of ways to create replacements and supports for this undeveloped side that is necessary for natural human development.
For me, it felt like a hole burning in my chest. I didn’t know what the hole was or why it was there but I felt it all day everyday. I would distract myself with food, shopping, gossiping, religious activities, sleeping, perfectionism… anything to distract me from the hole burning inside.
After years of therapy and self discovery I now know that the hole was all about my need to be seen. The years of needs that went unmet. My need to be validated and loved and known. I was only known for what I could do for others, not just for me being me.
The art of receptivity is about developing the muscle of being able to receive. Developing the ability to be known, seen, and celebrated, as well as to receive what others want to give and provide. It balances our energy and is the life-force behind our ability to give. The art of receptivity allows for the natural flow of energy. Energy in – energy out. The more we are seen, known, celebrated, wanted, loved, cherished, honored, and respected, the more we can lavish these feelings on others as well. It is cyclical.
Imagine a world where women feel truly honored, cherished, loved and celebrated. Women would pour that energy out onto everyone in their orbit. They would be fun and playful partners. Fun moms who are fully present in the moment with their kids and always celebrating their individuality. They would be creative and energetic at work, spinning an energetic life-force that changes the vibration of the planet. There are women who are already here, already celebrating themselves, already fully in love with themselves and just as eager to receive as they are to give.
It is time to join the movement. Women are no longer willing to settle for the cheap, transactional relationships of the past. Women are no longer willing to settle for being happy with being wanted for what we can provide. We want the real deal. We want the full circle, the natural flow of life where receiving is just as pleasurable and juicy as giving. We want the energetic exchange that lights us and everyone around us up.
When you can make this mindset shift, life goes from black and white to full color. Life is energizing, exciting, and full of hope and joy for what is to come. If you find yourself feeling more empty than fulfilled, the secret is in the art of receptivity. Not in finding more ways to give. Get into the natural energetic flow. I know it’s hard. It is really hard when you have been conditioned your whole life to only think of others, but the magic on the other side of the courage to change will absolutely be worth it. This is what you are missing and there is no way to fill that void with anything else. Believe me, I tried. Being known is the foundation of the human experience. We cannot be known if we are not seen. We cannot be seen if we cannot receive.