How comfortable are you at accepting gifts, praise and compliments? Do you embrace them; holding them close to your heart or deflect like them as if they were arrows that jab you or chafe like an itchy sweater? For many women (and I am guessing some men too), sadly, the latter is so. Even as much as I desire being the recipient of love offered in all kinds of ways, I still get squirmy and embarrassed when showered with ‘too much.’ Everyone’s set point for what that looks like is different, but it can be changed. A newly birthed book penned by consultant, coach and motivational speaker Amanda Owen called Born To Receive: 7 Powerful Steps Women Can Take Today to Reclaim Their Half of The Universe is a lovely guide to opening yourself to richly deserved rewards. Her initial foray into the realm of receiving was titled The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve. Both are a result of a combination of decades of scholarly inquiry into the art of receptivity and her own deep spiritual practice.
Reader friendly, it is divided into two parts. The first: Born to Receive creates a framework which wraps around chapters including The ABCs of Receiving, The CULTure of Self Esteem and The Top Ten Features of Skilled Receivers. The second: Seven Steps To Reclaim Your Half of the Universe highlights concepts such as Know What You Want, Be Grateful and Say Thank You, Create Full Reciprocity in Your Relationships and Don’t Put Yourself Last or You Won’t Last.
Although it may seem silly to consider, most of us weren’t taught the art of receiving and in fact, for many, quite the opposite, so the opening portion of the book offers what Owen calls An Introduction to the Receptive World that literally explains the definition of the words
Receive-to accept willingly
Receptive-ready or willing to receive
Receptivity-a willingness or readiness to recieve
Reciprocity- a mode of exchange in which transactions take place between individuals who are symmetrically placed, ie: they are exchanging as equals, neither being in a dominant position
She then goes on to outline receptive states and receptivities which are action steps such as ‘soaking in a hot bath’ and ‘enjoying the flavor of your morning coffee’. My observation is that receptivity is a full sensory experience so that we are receiving not only from people but from life as it unfolds all around us.
The learned skill of receiving is encouraged from the get- go in for what many is really a self-love primer. Remember when you were a child and learned that the A-B-Cs were the foundation of words? So too are they in the receptivity realm. Owen breaks them down in this manner:
Accept All Compliments
Be Spiritually Naked
Count Your Blessings
When we are in receptivity mode, not only do we stand up for ourselves and set boundaries, but we become a greater force for good in the world, as Owen cites Rosa Parks as an example of using receptive power to claim her own right to a seat on the bus, thus opening the door for others to claim the same.
Trusting intuition and honoring ‘gut feelings’ are an essential aspect of receiving our good. Owen describes a painful lesson learned back in the 1970′s when she ignored her inner voice. What she believes led her to silence that wisdom was that women are taught to put aside their feelings in favor of placing others before them. We need to ‘unlearn’ those lessons. Back to square one as she offers a list of feelings from which we can pick and choose to identify our present emotional state.
I can particularly resonate with some of the reasons why feelings are ignored, including not wanting to ‘rock the boat’ and being conflict avoidant.
The book is filled with easy to apply ideas and exercises including identifying if you are an Ice Queen, Drama Queen or In-Between and Owen uses a thermostat as an example of maintaining a state of emotional flexibility. Others including taking a complaint fast; focusing on what you want and not on what you don’t want and then asking for it. I remember working with a coach a few years ago who encouraged me to raise my rates and said “Ask for it without stuttering,” and so I do. That is the spirit in which Owen encourages requesting to have needs met, knowing that (just like prayer) we aren’t always going to get the answer we want. One of the risks of asking for anything is hearing the word ‘no’ and being able to move past it and find alternatives.
Interspersed in the pages are quotes from other wise women.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”-Maya Angelou
“When your heart speaks, take good notes.”-Judith Campbell
“Gratitude helps you be receptive to the life force of the universe.”-Denise Linn
The book closes with a list of ‘receptivities’; ways to nourish body, mind and spirit to which Owen encourages the reader to add.
SO, the question remains: how much of your heart’s deepest desires are you willing to receive? Read this book and you will have a clearer picture, as well as the steps to bring you there.
Cover Design: Nita Ybarra