Psst. Sweet Pea — You Suck At Receiving!

Recently, I spent some time with a group of friends. It was early in our time together, so we were all just getting reconnected. One of our tribe has been going through a bit of a rough patch. This is unusual for her, because, in general, she is THE ROCK at the center of the Universe for many, many people.

In fact, even in her work, she is a Professional Rock. She gets paid – really, really well – to do that. To be the Rock.

But, as I said, she’s been having a bit of a rough patch, because some of the Ding Dongs that orbit around her have been behaving poorly, and they touch her life. And she can’t change that. So it’s just a bit tricky and hard and exhausting and sometimes, even, depressing.

As we were all nattering away, one of our other friends announced that our Rock friend should just “get used to” being pampered by us. To just get used to being slathered with gifts and such.

And my Rock friend said, “Nope. I’m fine. I don’t need a thing. I’m all in. I’ll figure this out. There are LOTS of people with greater needs than I. Help them instead.”

Which is, of course, how you would expect the Rock to respond. (And, by the way, she is right, which always complicates things, doesn’t it?)

Listening to this exchange, of course something popped out of my mouthy mouth: To the Rock: “You SUCK at receiving!”

And we all giggled. Because every one of us sort of sucks at receiving.

In general, each one of is The Rock. Our Rock-ness means we don’t receive. We give. We don’t yield. We provide shelter. We take the hit so others can get filled, be safe, rest, heal, etc.

It’s hard to bring a good Rock down, but it can be done. My personal experience is that slow but persistent erosion is a perfect strategy for shrinking rocks down to nothingness.

All that’s gotta happen is that it starts to rain.

At first, it’s just a subtle little spring shower in your life, it might even feel like a refreshing little retreat.

But then it rains again. And you barely get to dry off and another thunderstorm happens. And then, the big hurricane of some pile of crap rolls in. And you have the kids in the basement, and you’re making jokes so no one else gets scared, and then you’re cleaning all that up, but then another storm announces itself. And you are exhausted, and you are afraid, and you are weary. But you can’t stop. Because the torrential winds and rain and thunder just keep hammering home.

Nope. You can’t stop. Because you are the Rock and you are such a big and powerful Rock that you are providing shelter for many, many smaller geologic formations downstream. And if you go, they all go.

See what I mean?

That can happen to a Rock.

So my friend, the Rock, is coming off of a period like that. And my other friend, who is a little farther away from her own personal shit-storm was offering to help.

But, the Rock, being the Rock, balked just a little.

That wasn’t necessarily a bad choice. It IS true that there are lots of starving children in – well, everywhere. And it IS true that lots of people are in scarier financial straits. And it IS true that my friend has her health, her children, her business, etc.

But it’s ALSO true, that we each need to give.

Because giving reminds us that we have enough, we are enough, there is enough.

And, if none of us ever receives, the rest of us never get a chance to grow in selflessness.

And, as I repeatedly mention, it is our BROKEN places that connect us to each other.

When you are a Rock, it is easy to forget that. It is easy to feel isolated, because you think that you are out there all alone.

But you are not.

Because the base of your stony power is actually sitting on a bigger piece of land. And the only reason you are a rock is because erosion has created a mythical separation between you and the Rock sitting just over there.

That is right, love.

You are a ROCK because life has eroded the space between you and the Rock to the right.

But BEFORE that erosion, you were one.

And I humbly suggest that when the Rock to your right offers some help, you consider receiving it. Because that shared compassion erases the illusion of disconnection between us all.

Love, Jennifer

P.S.  If you’re usually the Rock in your circles, please “like” or “share” this post with others (links to Facebook, etc. below.)

Photo, Flickr, audreyjm529

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26 Responses to Psst. Sweet Pea — You Suck At Receiving!

  1. Laurie Higgins says:

    Wow. Very well written. I love the imagery of rocks and erosion. Really, really well done. Thank you.

  2. Irene Ross says:

    Wow, did this ever make me squirm, because I’m one of those rocks. How very true–all of it!

  3. Diane says:

    One of the simplest, most creative descriptions of this issue that I’ve ever read! Thank you, love, that was perfect timing as we get ready to cruise as a family…. think I’ll ask that rock next to me for help! xoxo

  4. Holly says:

    What a great post!! It is so hard to receive sometimes. I am one of those people! Working on it, but let me tell you sometimes I really do suck at receiving!!

  5. Jeannie-JB says:

    Wow. Great writing.

  6. This one ROCKS, Jen!

    We forgot that receiving is all part of energizing ourselves to be able to give. It is an exchange of energy between one another. If we just give and refuse to receive at some point we drain all our energy.

  7. Sandi Amorim says:

    I am a rock? Damn, my greatest fear confirmed! Kidding aside, it’s exactly the way you’ve written in my life. And even when the storms hit I stubbornly insist on being the giver, but it’s a lie covered up by this supposed strength. I want to be taken care of with an intensity that is frightening, so I stuff it down. What if I just surrendered? Is that possible for the rock?

  8. Ann Marie says:

    I learned to receive when I was going to college as an adult. I had no partner, no kids, no home, so decided to go back to school full-time to get my degree (a long-held childhoold dream). I worked at a department store, a coffee shop, a law firm, with one of my professors…anywhere that could accomodate my changing schedule.

    I needed to rely on friends for help with bills, laundry, emotional support, home-cooked meals, tech support, and general cheerleading duties. It was hard sometimes to feel so needy, but it’s a big undertaking to have the bills that go along with an adult life and the pay scale of a college student. Early on, after many “no, I’m okay’s”, one of my friends looked at me and said, “Just say thank you!” I did and learned to graciously accept help when it’s needed.

    To this day it’s what we say when we see the need for the other person to accept some needed TLC. Just say thank you.

  9. Patty D says:

    Great post! As a fellow hard-headed, self sufficient rock, it’s been a lesson for me that it’s important to receive as well as give. I’ve made it more palatable to allow myself to receive by reframing it from the idea that I was somehow “taking” something vs. receiving. We’re denying others of an important opportunity when we don’t allow ourselves to receive.

  10. Ellie Di says:

    *giggles* Dude, this is so me. But I’ve been working on getting better at receiving. The best thing I ever did in that regard was to change my policy to “I only say no once.” That gives people a chance to change their minds, makes me feel secure in my Rockness, but also allows for genuine offers of pampering and love to come through.

  11. What a fabulous, honest and deep analogy. We are all one. Refusing to receive is denying someone else the joy of giving. All you hard-headed Rocks out there, stop being so selfish. ;)

    You are building the sisterhood, Jen. This one does rock!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Michelle. I don’t think we see ourselves as being selfish, I think it’s actually more of a “don’t want to be a bother to anyone” or else an “if I start crying now I’ll never stop” kind of problem.

      I LOVE that you worked the metaphor in. Briliant!

  12. Priska says:

    Women of our generation are pioneers in being able to do it all, be everything to everyone. As we paved the way for equality, being strong and weatherproof was part of our persona.
    It was the birth of my first grandchild that touched a vulnerability and tenderness I never knew existed.
    And may I add, a pug, just like the one in your photo entered my life a couple of years ago.
    As the saying goes, never work with young children or animals, they’ll crumble the strongest rock.

    • Jennifer says:

      I love that pug photo! They have her all dressed up in lots of funny hats and such. It’s her expression — yep, she’s a Rock.

  13. Linda says:

    So Wonderfully Written!
    So Very True, I needed to read this Today.

  14. Pingback: Life Coaching, Shamanic Healing, & Storytelling

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