Improving Your Life: Exercises in Receiving

Improving Your Life: The Art and Science of Taking and Receiving.

Are you interested in learning the 4 Simple Steps to Ensure You’re Getting the Most out of Life? Great! Read On!

“How good are you at receiving?” The other day in our Ryzio support video conference we explored this question. (Read the 4 step outline there for Improving Your Life >)

Someone commented, “I think I’m pretty good at taking… but receiving? … I’m not so sure. I can take a compliment, a gift, something special someone does for me, but do I receive it? That’s more difficult.”

I began to ponder ways for “Improving Your Life” and also understand the difference between “taking and receiving”. Then I remembered sitting with my grandmother who had dementia who didn’t seem to recognize me but would hold my hand, smile and say, “I just love you!” Because I believed she didn’t know who I was, I discounted the gift. One day I heard myself silently say, “Marti, take it in!” I was stunned, then slowed down, took a breath, looked into her eyes and began to really receive the love she was conveying. What a difference!

Taking: The exchange seems automatic. Sometimes you may receive something that is expected, so it “doesn’t really count.” You give to others and, consciously or unconsciously, expect them to return the favor. (My husband, Ken, calls this a “trade”, not a gift!) You are moving so fast you don’t take the time to be fully present.

You can receive when you are authentically present.

Receiving: You are able to be authentically present. Eye contact is comfortable. You feel relaxed, open, okay to be yourself.

How to stop “taking” and truly “receive”:
In studying the human’s ability to “receive,” neuroscientists have found that before we can be successful we must first feel safe, both consciously and unconsciously. The feeling of safety is something Ryzio program participants develop through daily practice – this is something we – you – can practice and learn! And importantly, by feeling safe you are able to be fully present, hold boundaries, identify (and ask for) what you truly want.

Likewise, when you truly feel safe you are able to actually experience the warmth of receiving. You may notice calmness in your belly, expansion in your chest, and/or relaxation of your shoulders. Your breath and your heartbeat slow down. You can actually benefit physically as well as emotionally from understanding your safety cues.

Try this as a strategy for “Improving Your Life”:

  1. Think of a time recently when someone did something nice for you, helped you or gave you a small gift of any kind. It could be that someone went out of their way to help you answer a question at work. Or some stranger may have helped you in a tight spot. Make a note of what you notice as you recall this.
  2. Now, remember a time when someone close to you gave you the gift of their presence or their time. Perhaps your partner, best friend or family member suggested a special outing together. Perhaps you can recall intimate moments. Ask yourself, “How present am I for those moments? Do I feel the expansion and warmth in my body or does some part of me shut down, move away, move faster, begin chatting or distract?” Write a bit about what comes up for you as you recall this.
  3. Exercise in receiving, notice those everyday gifts of eye contact and a smile.Begin to notice in your everyday life the small gifts that are given:
    • a smile from a stranger,
    • a compliment from a colleague,
    • praise from your boss,
    • being remembered by a friend,
    • a special time with a family member,
    • an intimate moment with your special other.
  4. The next time you receive a gift of any kind, slow down, take a breath, tell yourself something like, “This is a gift. Take it in.” Smile. Afterward, make a mental note. The more you are able to receive, the more you will receive.

Taking may fill an immediate need. Truly receiving is giving ourselves a double gift: The gift that was given, and a deeper relationship with ourselves and the other person. Plus, when we truly receive, we stimulate positive hormones, grow new neural connections, calm the nervous system and increase healthy digestive function. Try it, you may be surprised!

This article was written by Marti Glenn, Ph.D., Ryzio Clinical Director