We all have our challenges. Me too. Lately I’ve realised that one of mine is this - allowing myself to open deeply into BEING RECEPTIVE. I’ve been reflecting on it and this is what I came up with.
Like most of you who are Mums and Dads, my children opened up that part of me that was able to be responsible and to support them as best I could. Now that my children are
grown up and very self-sufficient, I’ve often noticed that I still take on too much responsibility in other ways. What I mean by that is that I rely on myself more than I need to. I DON’T REALLY ASK FOR SUPPORT IF I CAN DO IT MYSELF.
While this is laudable in some respects, it also means that, in a subtle way, I had learned to remove myself from ALLOWING support. I was more in my comfort zone when I took it all on – by myself. That “I CAN DO IT” mentality is not always healthy, because, for me at least, it meant that I became a little aloof and, dare I say it, overly insulated from the affection of others. It’s a strange moment when you realise that you’re really good at offering support to others – but you’re not able to receive it back. I love being “of service” – but I’ve also realised that, if I always play that role, I’m not receptive. I appeared to be totally in control, but, underneath it all, I was afraid of being vulnerable, because, as Brene Brown has often said, “we have confused vulnerability with weakness.”
Vulnerability is NOT weakness. Vulnerability is NOT being a victim either. True vulnerability is all about being honest, being open, and being seen - not as you think you ought to look, but as yourself. Yes, its messy at times! Yes, it’s scary at times, to allow yourself to be seen.
I see this phenomenon a lot with people, and more particularly in men, where, if we’re not willing to be vulnerable, we’re not receptive.
I saw this a while ago every time I was planning my travels - I tended to organise it all myself without asking anyone for anything. But more recently, I’ve begun to ask. Instead of having hotels, planes trains and automobiles all pre-organised - solo – I’ve asked for and opened up to support. People have put me up. People have dropped me to the airport. People have driven me back to Dublin from Dromantine Conference Centre just on the border with Northern Ireland, where I facilitate and teach. I’ve been “fed and watered!”
In my “old masculine” I wouldn’t have asked for support. I thought it was some kind of weakness to rely on others. I wasn’t receptive. I thought that I “should” pay for everything myself –and then I had my Eureka Moment! Somehow I had linked that ability to be independent to my sense of self-worth.
It took me a while to untangle all of that, to break that identification, and to be completely happy in myself regardless of how self-sufficient I was. Yes, of course it a good thing to be self-sufficient, but it’s not a good thing to have your sense of self-worth all tangled up in that.
So I challenge you - be receptive. Allow your vulnerability. Let your true self be seen. And the moracle is, that if you do this, people will love you more!
Osho, a wonderful spiritual teacher, has this to say on receptivity –
“… you become just a passage, a passivity, a receptivity, a womb: you become feminine. And to arrive one has to become feminine. You cannot reach God as aggressive invaders, conquerors. You can reach God only...or it will be better to say; God can reach you only when you are receptive, a feminine receptivity. When you become yin, a receptivity, the door is open.”
As I’ve opened up to this aspect of myself, I’ve met some resistance, but that’s to be expected. Each time I was brave enough to ask for support, it arrived! But then came challenge number two - to receive fully - without feeling in any way guilty, or that I had to give back. When you’re fully receptive, you don’t keep a score card!
If this resonates with you, then what you can do is to take the following two questions into your meditation practice or quiet time.
(Remember to make sure that you’re very quiet inside, and that the questions penetrate beyond your thinking mind. See what emotions or sensations are present when you inquire into your own relationship to taking support and being receptive. )
DO I ASK FOR SUPPORT WHEN I NEED IT ?
( whether that’s action based or emotional support)
If you see that, yes, you do find it difficult to ask for what you need -
“WHY IS THAT?”