How did you interpret the title of this post? Did you wonder, "How will a post make me get more compliments?" Well I have no magic wand for that one, and I'm certainly not advocating fishing for a compliment!
Instead take a moment to reflect on the difference between what you get in life, and what you actually receive.
We've all had times when we felt we weren't receiving enough - enough money, love, support, compliments. The good news is, how you receive is up to you. Receiving is an action that you take. And it's not a matter of what you're not getting, but rather what you're deflecting.
I know a lot of women who feel much more comfortable with giving than receiving. Deep down, they like themselves better when giving to others, and can find it hard to allow themselves to receive. This plays out in many ways. I'd like you to take a moment to imagine I've just complimented you on something. Maybe a job well done. Maybe your outfit. Maybe the cake you served me when I visited for afternoon tea. How would you respond?
"Oh no, I'm not photogenic at all. You are much more photogenic than me!"
"What, this old thing?"
"You're much better at this than me"
Are you sensing a pattern? All of the responses above, and others in the same vein, prevent us from receiving. When someone offers a compliment, support, help or a gift and we deflect it, we are preventing ourselves from being in a receiving state. When our self worth relies on being a giver, the message we are telling ourselves is that we don't deserve to receive, or when we receive we are not "earning' our worth as much as when we give.
This underlying pattern erodes at our self worth and reduces our ability to replenish ourselves to maintain a giving nature. It also subtly but tangibly rejects the person who is trying to give to us.
Some of us have started to learn to be more gracious receivers and shine some of that generosity of spirit towards ourselves. But watch out for more subtle ways we deflect too. This can be the immediate need to reciprocate, before the receiving has been felt - because the feeling of receiving is too uncomfortable. This may show itself in returning a compliment, saying "Right back at you" or "You too"; or trying to quickly return a favour or gift.
Stop. Just stop. And take a breath.
Even if it brings up discomfort - especially if it brings up discomfort - sit with the receiving. Breathe and soften into it. If you need to say something, acknowledge what you have received rather than trying to give back immediately. "Thank you" is a good starting point.
Notice how your energy feels when you receive. You will learn to tell if your energy is in a receiving or deflecting state when you respond. Be gentle with yourself. For some of us, receiving is something to learn with observation, self-kindness and time.
Start with this: Receive what you need from yourself. If you need support, arrange it for yourself. If you need a break, give yourself permission. And if you need a few words of kindness, they are here. You're doing great. You matter. You deserve it. Breathe.
I'd like to hear from you - how are you learning to receive? Share your thoughts below. And if you know a kind woman who could learn to receive more, send this post to her or share it. If you'd like to receive an environment of support, join me in my cosy corner of Facebook in Sisters With Heart.