I like to give. I like to share. My time. My words. My insights. My gifts. Myself. It is how I express, Love.
I’m not so good at receiving.
This fact hit home last week when, while talking to a friend about the book, The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, I mentioned how while my primary love language is Acts of Service, I have difficulty receiving in my language.
“How do you fill your cup?” my friend asked.
Giving is receiving. It’s true. I receive so much writing here every morning. Clarity. Learning. Sharing. Connecting. Friendship. An opportunity to live on purpose. A chance to grow and deepen my understanding of who I am and how I am in the world — and to share other people’s feelings, thoughts, ideas. It is a gift.
In the 3-D world, the place I live everyday, I like to give. I’m not so good at the receiving end of the equation. Which means, there’s little balance in the equation — and the universe loves for it all to add up to equal Love on every side of the equation.
Recently, at a dinner party here at the house for my youngest daughter’s birthday, I got a spasm in my lower back and eventually, realizing that my constant grimaces of pain were not only making my guests uncomfortable but also making me cry in public (something I do not like to do, thank you very much!) I had to leave our guests and go lie down. “You need Robaxacet,” a friend of my daughter’s said.
But I didn’t have any. “I’ll go to the drug store and get you some,” she said.
“Oh no,” I demurred. “Don’t do that. You’re here to enjoy the party. I’ll just take an Advil and lie down for a bit.” And I snuck off to our bedroom and lay down. As long as I didn’t move, my back was quiet. But one little move and it felt like someone was setting fire crackers off deep in my butt. I lay in the dark and waited for the Advil to kick in. It wasn’t happening.
And then, the door opened and two of my daughter’s friends walked in with a glass of water and a box of Robaxacet. They’d driven to the drug store to buy me some.
I felt blessed. Cherished. Loved.
It was a beautiful gift. I had to ‘get conscious’ about my tapes firing around how I had caused them trouble, put them to too much bother. I had to receive, without pushing away their gift.
It was the integrity-filled thing to do. I wanted to honour their gift and all my protestations of ‘you shouldn’t have’ would only have diminished their thoughtfulness. They didn’t deserve that.
Neither did I.
C.C., my beloved, gets up every morning and makes me a smoothie. When I’m coaching at Choices this is a particularly challenging for him as he is definitely not a morning person, and Choices mornings begin early. I want to tell him, “don’t bother,” “I’ll be fine,” “I don’t need one,” but that actually would not be true. I love his smoothies. They balance my day. They set me up with a healthy start to the morning. To push away his gift would be to negate his act of love, and deny myself receiving his gift in my love language.
Why would I do that? What’s in it for me to not receive in the language of my heart?
To not receive with grace is mostly all about ego. It’s all about self-denial. About listening to the critter reminding me about how I don’t deserve, am not worthy of, or simply not important enough for others to do for me what I love to do for them.
I am learning.
I am growing.
I am expanding into grace.
Giving is receiving. and the corollary of that is, Receiving is giving.
To receive is to give what I want most for people to have and know — I honour their presence. I value their gifts. I love them.
To push away their acts of service, to deny their words of affirmation (which is my second love language), is to say — you’re not important. You don’t matter to me. I don’t ‘see’ you.
And that’s not true. And it’s definitely not what I want to create more of in my world.
I want the people around me to know I see them, hear them, love them. I want them to feel visible and loved, and real in my presence. I want them to know, I honour and value and cherish everything about them — and that includes the things they do for me, their acts of service, their words of affirmation, the sharing of themselves and their many gifts.
Giving brings me great joy. Learning to receive fills me up with Love. What a blessing.