Most women I know love to give, but are extremely uncomfortable with receiving.
I find it intensely interesting listening to the myriad of ways women resist receiving verbal compliments. A woman is told she is good at her work. She replies, "Oh no! But thank you", as if the addition of the words "Thank you" make her unwillingness to receive okay. Another woman is told her figure looks great. She responds, "Yeah, now if I can just get rid of these thighs!" Still another technique is to turn the attention to the one giving the compliment. This can be done by receiving the compliment and quickly bouncing it back, "Thanks, but I really love your outfit", or by skillfully ignoring the compliment all together. For example, "Your hair looks pretty." Receiver: "Oh, I've always wanted to know where you get yours done." Women have been doing this for centuries. It is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior modeled by women and passed on to the generations of young women that follow.
I teach elementary school. Just the other day I was in my room with a group of second grade girls. i Yes. I said second grade. 7-8 year olds. They were chatting first about food and then talking to each other about their thighs. Their thighs. They were not happy with them. The conversation and kind of talk was obviously something they had heard women/mothers in their life say to one another. Just like little girls playing dress-up in their mommie's clothes, they were trying on the talk they understood to be grown-up talk.
Another way women create resistance is by the refusal to ask for help; help with a project, help with the kids, help with financial struggles, and especially help with something personal where they feel vulnerable. When we create barriers and resistance to receiving, it is a great mirror of our beliefs about deserving. We are uncomfortable with receiving because on some level, we don't believe we deserve to receive.
The good news is this new awareness of our resistance to receiving is a great opportunity to explore what we believe we deserve. Those internal messages we have about what we deserve usually come from early childhood experiences. What do you want that you do not have now? What did you learn/see about deserving in your home when you were growing up? What did your parents believe they deserved? Were there any spoken messages? Did you hear "You get what you deserve!" Did you always have to earn in order to deserve? Did earning work for you? What did your childhood religious upbringing teach you about deserving? Were you told that sinners don't deserve? Were things taken away from you when you did something wrong? What did you tell yourself as a result of those childhood experiences? What have you come to believe you deserve? Are you good enough? Will you ever be good enough?
If you have never explored your internal beliefs around deserving, try this:
Go to the mirror and look into your own eyes. Breathe.
Say your name and repeat the following statements while looking into your own eyes. Pause after each statement and listen to what you tell yourself about it.
I deserve an abundance of leisure time.
I deserve an abundance of loving and supportive friends and family.
I deserve a job that is deeply gratifying.
I deserve to be treated with respect, consideration, and value.
I deserve to feel good.
I deserve time to myself and for myself.
I deserve to ask for help and to receive it.
I deserve, in abundance, ALL the good things that the whole universe has to offer.
Now tell me, what was that like for you? What came up? For me, I noticed that the most difficult one, the one I almost deleted (interestingly), was the statement, "I deserve a job that is deeply gratifying." And, I was surprised that it was this one. I didn't see it coming. Not intellectually anyway. But on a feeling level, I noticed my resistance. It was palpable. So, now I know I have some "stuff" I carry around career, working, and it being "deeply gratifying". I can tell you that I carry messages that say "Work is hard. You have to do it. Everyone hates their work. Just do it and shut up. Don't expect more. Don't expect too much. You don't get to have more than that. Work doesn't have to be deeply gratifying. You're lucky you have a job, so just shut up and do it. How dare you ask for more than that! Deeply gratifying??? You want too much!"
Whew! See how you can discover what's in there? That's what is creating resistance to your joy; whatever your joy is. Now that I have identified those internal messages that are creating the resistance for me, I can change them. The messages we carry are learned messages. That means we can unlearn them. Therein lies our power.
I challenge you. Look into your mirror. Do the exericse. Be the conscious creator of your own experience. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.