We need to know how to do both
In my August blog I talked about why self-compassion – becoming one’s own best friend – is so crucial for our mental and emotional wellbeing.
A vital part of practicing self-compassion is giving and receiving, both crucial life skills for our wellbeing and personal development.
When we give to others, we often feel deeply moved, content and satisfied. And to give to others, we need to be aware of and to connect with others, to be open hearted and willing to help and care. It’s a wonderful two-way exchange and both parties benefit hugely.
The same applies to receiving. We all yearn to receive support, love and care because when we do it feels deeply meaningful because it connects us with others – the utmost universal human need and shared common human experience. To truly receive however, we need to believe that we deserve to receive help, that it is ‘okay’ and human rather than thinking that we have to do it all on our own or that it’s weak to ask for support.
Asking for support is not weak
Many of us hold a long standing belief that asking for help means that we are weak whilst we yearn for an offer of help, for the support and care of. We can work ourselves into a right state which not only creates a place of conflict and pain within but which also sends a confusing message to our loved ones. When we are in such a place, it can feel very lonely. It can cut us off from others because they read us as saying: “I don’t’ need your help, I can do it all by myself.” And so they back off and leave us to it. And when they do, we get frustrated because they’re not helping us!
I have a client who holds the belief that she shouldn’t ask her husband for help with the children and household because he has a high powered job and works long hours. So on the one hand she thinks that she has to do it all on her own and that she doesn’t need help. This is the message she conveys to her husband. However, on the other hand she feels frustrated and resentful because he doesn’t see the things that need doing in the house and with the children and that he doesn’t understand the support she needs from him. Together we explored her belief of needing to do it all on her own and her yearning for more support and how to be more open to receive his help when he offers it.
Getting better at giving and receiving…. a few tips
Every day set an intention to do one small act of kindness for someone – at work, while travelling, on the street, at home…
Every day set an intention to be open to receive an offer of support, help or care. Rather than pushing the offer of support away or closing down or saying ‘no’ immediately, see whether you can say ‘yes, thank you’ instead and bear the discomfort of receiving kindness from someone. Each time you can say ‘yes’ you will find reassurance that you deserve to receive care, love and help. And you really do.
As always let me know how you get on.
If you would like to find out more about life coaching or mindfulness training, get in touch. I offer a free 30-minute life coaching taster session.