Monthly Archives: August 2015

Are You a Do-er or a Giver?: The Art of Receiving

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 10 Comments

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.I ran into my ex-boyfriend this past weekend. He pulled me aside and apologized for the way he treated me when we were together, acknowledging that I gave him my all and he gladly took it without giving much in return. Although I was grateful for his apology, I can’t pretend I am blameless in the downfall of our relationship.

I am a giver by nature, but I’ve learned that this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself. ~ Wynonna Judd 

Too often, I forget this wise lesson. Instead, I give away everything in my cup until I am left with nothing but a dry, brittle cup. This is something I am still working on and why I know I’m not ready for another romantic relationship yet. I need more practice giving from my overflow and keeping my cup full.

But even more than that, I am working on learning to receive. I think we as women tend to be over-givers (or, in reality, over-doers); we do everything for everyone and then wonder how we got so resentful – or in even worse, sick. That’s what happens when we keep giving from our cups instead of our overflow. In her book Born to Receive, Amanda Owen actually distinguishes between giving and receiving and do-ing and taking. In my relationship with my ex, I was the do-er and he was, for the most part, the taker. This is not a healthy relationship, for obvious reasons. But I can’t blame him for being a taker because I was a do-er, rather than a giver.

Owen explains it like this: in an ideal relationship, there is an equal flow of giving and receiving from both parties. No one feels depleted or resentful because they are both giving from their overflow and allowing their partner to give back to them in return to ensure their cup stays full. In unhealthy relationships, one person tends to do more for the other person at their own expense (that is, they are giving from their cup, not from their overflow) and the other person takes, but does not give much back (so the do-er’s cup never gets replenished). While this may make it seem like the taker is just a jerk, that’s not always the case. People who tend to be do-ers often have a problem receiving. Thus, what could be a giving-receiving relationship becomes a doing-taking relationship because the doer doesn’t know how to receive.  Guilty!

Receptivity is a two-fold process for me:  1) I have to ask for what I want, and 2) I have to sit back and allow it to come to me and not try to control how it comes or try to give it back! Case in point, a good friend of mine gave me the $25 she owed me and I tried to give it back to her in case she needed it for something else. But that wasn’t fair to me or to her. My ‘offer’ to give her back what she owed me was, in essence, me rejecting her gift. How would you feel if you gave someone something that was valuable to you and they said “no thanks?” Exactly. Receptivity should benefit both the giver and the receiver. Otherwise, it’s not truly giving from your overflow.

So how do you learn to receive? Step one: you’ve got to learn to ask for what you want/need (note that I said ask, not demand – I’m guilty of getting so resentful that I start demanding rather than asking. A word of advice: demanding doesn’t work!). You can’t expect your partner/friend/mother to be a mind reader. In her book Queen’s Code, Alison Armstrong explains that to get your needs met, you have to know how to ask for what you want. To do this, you have to know exactly what you want and why you want it (in other words, what will it provide for you). Then in the ask, you inform the person from which you want to receive this whatever-it-is what you need and what it will provide for you. This is something I definitely need to work on! Step two: you have to receive this and relinquish control over how it comes to you. For example, if you do the cooking in your household but would rather have your partner do the dishes, you might say, “When I end up doing both the cooking and the dishes, I find myself getting resentful because I feel like my efforts are not valued. I don’t mind cooking dinner every night because I enjoy cooking but I would appreciate it if you would do the dishes for me. By doing the dishes, you make me feel appreciated and valued.” Then you have to let go of how and when the dishes actually get done. Your partner is not you and may not do the dishes to your liking, but getting mad at someone for doing what you asked them to do is not a good way to encourage them to keep doing it in the future!  🙂

Here’s my challenge for myself (and for you, if you’re interested). I am going to practice asking for what I need and receiving it in whatever form it comes in September. We’ll call it the Month of Receptivity Challenge. If you’re up for it, leave a comment and we’ll get a receptivity group going on Facebook!

The Warrior Queen

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 3 Comments

The Goddess

“To my sweet wild woman, I know why it hasn’t worked out with anyone else — you don’t need a man, but a goddamn warrior. ~ Kate Rose”

Last week I read an article on Elephant Journal that got me thinking. On the one hand, I agreed completely with everything Kate Rose said in her piece. Yes, I want a man who sees me for who I am – my strengths, my weakness, my pain, my struggles, my fierceness. Yes, I will only accept a man in my life who matches my fire with his own.

“You can’t be anything other than what you are—and that’s okay. You are just as you are supposed to be, magnificently wild in all of your chaotic beauty.” ~ Kate Rose

Yes, I want a man who honors my wildness, accepts and appreciates me and doesn’t try to “tame” me (nor I him). Yes, I hold out hope that he is out there and is on his way to me.

Yet, Kate Rose made a very valid point that I think got lost in the midst of the what-I-need-in-a-man laundry list: “It takes a goddess to show a warrior what real love is.”

And that’s my point.

I can’t expect to do what I’ve always done and get different results. It doesn’t work that way.

I know I’ve made mistakes in past relationships and I completely own them: I’ve competed with men, berated them, emasculated them, suppressed them, and tried to change them. Is it any wonder I’ve gotten back what I put out?

I know that this warrior of mine is out there, but I also know I must be ready for him. I must be that fierce, strong, wild woman he is looking for. One who stands in her power instead of kowtowing to his. One who speaks her truth instead of saying what she thinks he wants to hear. One who owns her own wildness instead of trying to hide it behind a façade of professor/wife/mother/entrepreneur/good girl. A queen, sovereign in her own right, who rules with kindness, honesty and integrity instead of criticism and judgement – of herself and her man.

To allow this Warrior King into your life? Are you ready to be the woman you’ve always wanted to be and let him be the man he truly is? Are you ready to let your fierceness show? Your cunning? Your creativity? Are you ready to come out of hiding? To let the world know that you have arrived – perfectly imperfect just as you are? Are you ready to talk the talk and walk the walk? To take your own advice? Are you ready to proclaim to all who will listen: I am a Goddess and Warrior Queen!

I am.

I hope you’ll join me.

Lay Down Your Burdens

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

moving with too much luggageI had lunch with my mother a few days ago and she said something that struck me. She was talking about a coworker of hers that she feared would get fired over a hostile altercation with a customer. She worried for his wife and 3 kids, whom he supported financially. I remarked that as her coworker was the one who cursed at a customer, it wasn't her problem.

She shook her head. “But it is, isn't it? We take on other people's burdens; carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. You do it too.”

“I try not to,” I said because I really am trying not to take on problems that aren't mine to fret over or solve.

“But you can't. It's hard wired into you.” She countered.

I didn't have an answer for her. I hope it's not hardwired into me. I don't particularly need or want to take on other's burdens – especially when they haven't even asked for or don't want or need my help. But, I find myself doing it far too often.

My friends call it my ‘professor mode'. I have been known to ‘lecture' my friends without even realizing I'm doing it. It's just so natural for me; I want to teach, educate, inform, and help them in some way. Even when they really don't want my opinion or my help. Fortunately my friends are also the first to call me on it.

My next question, of course, is why. Why do we take on other people's burdens? Don't we have enough problems of our own? What do we get from the act of offering unsolicited help, advice, and burden carrying? Feelings of worth? Accomplishment? Generosity? Or is it merely that we offer to carry other's burdens so we don't have to carry our own?  Is taking on other people's problems a way for us to mask or escape from our own issues?

I’ve spent quite a bit of time contemplating those questions this past week. I think, for me, it’s a combination of all of the above. I’ve spent so many years of my life earning accolades from being “the professor” that it has become difficult for me to remember to take that hat off when I’m not supposed to be wearing it. Many of my friends experience a similar feeling about wearing the “mother” hat – the y find themselves “mothering” students, coworkers, and friends. I also think, in some ways, getting all wound up in someone else’s life not only makes me feel special, but it takes the focus off my own life. My inner mean girl usually takes a back seat when I’m in helper mode. After all, I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing, so she has less to complain about!

But sometimes I think we do need to stop fixing everyone else’s problems in favor of taking a good, hard look in the mirror. Our inner mean girls need to be dialogued with, not avoided.

If you’re ready to face your inner mean girl, I hope you’ll join me for this podcast episode: