Have you ever had someone say, “I love that outfit!” and you responded by saying, “I got it on sale!” or, “I’ve had it for years.”
Or maybe a friend has offered to buy lunch but you insisted on paying your share. Or a party guest has offered to stay and help you clean up and you’ve said, “I’ve got it.”
Or someone has apologized for being late to meet you and instead of thanking her you’ve said, “oh, that’s alright.”
Me too. I’ve done all of those things. I just didn’t want to burden them or have them think I was mooching or stuck up. I even thought I should keep score and keep things even. For our first Christmas together I bought my husband a bunch of small gifts and wrapped them up and put them under the tree early. John saw this and he asked me “how many presents did you get me for Christmas anyway?” So I told him, “John, it doesn’t matter if you get me the same number of presents that I got you, as long as they cost the same.
I was only half-kidding.
For years, I had no idea how to receive compliments, gifts, help or apologies, so I rejected them.
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The Essence of Feminine Energy is Receptivity
Looking back, I’m sad for that younger version of me who had no idea how to receive and who therefore was unwittingly rejecting many of the sweet things people around me wanted to give me. Even worse, as I was rejecting the gift, I was also rejecting the giver, including my husband, who was struggling to make me happy even as I rebuffed him. In Eastern philosophy, every object has both yin (feminine energy) and yang (masculine energy). For a coffee cup, the yang is the ceramic or the paper structure of the cup; the yin is the part inside the coffee cup that holds the coffee–the part that receives.
Without the yin, or the ability to hold coffee, the yang would not be purposeful. Coffee cups that can’t hold coffee are not in great demand. Without someone to receive and benefit from his efforts, the masculine doesn’t have much purpose. Rick Ocasek of the Cars said it best when he sang, “I guess you’re just what I needed. I needed someone to please.”
The essence of femininity is receptivity, and the masculine response to receptivity is the source of the inspiration to cherish that receptive person, who gives the yang purpose and meaning.
Good Receivers are More Attractive
The more receptive you are, the more feminine you become and feminine is what the masculine is fundamentally attracted to. So the more receptive you are, the more attractive you’ll be to the yang. In order to get the good vibrations, I had to be willing to accept special treatment. If I don’t receive from my husband, the cycle is broken. He doesn’t get to feel proud and I don’t get to feel taken care of, so everybody loses.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds to become a good receiver. It made me feel self-conscious. I was out of my comfort zone at times, accepting a compliment that I was a good dancer when I doubted that was true, or getting a present from a friend when I didn’t have one in return. When I ask volunteers to demonstrate receiving graciously at my live events, I often get tears, or else fits of nervous laughter when I ask them to say only, “Thank you,” and nothing else. Participants report that it feels good, but also that they’re aware that all the attention is intensely on them.
But once they get the hang of this Intimacy Skill they love the connection and confidence they get from receiving well. They discover that accepting a gift graciously can be the greatest gift of all. It shows that you understand that others, especially the man in your life, feel pleasure when you allow them to give you something.
So how do you do that?
When you’re offered something do what your mother taught you. Smile and say only, “thank you.”
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