Last night, I had dinner with my friend Cathy.
I noticed that she was wearing her hair differently.
It was swept back with visible highlights, and it looked stunning.
When I offered her a compliment, she was quick to wave it off, saying, “Oh no, Regena, it looks awful. I’m only wearing it pinned back so you can’t see my greys.”
I insisted that Cathy looked phenomenal, and this time, she countered with how much weight she had put on recently.
When I continued with my praise, she doubled down on her deflection.
Hard as I tried, my compliments could not find a landing pad in Cathy.
They bounced off and bounced out.
Most women just cannot receive a compliment.
We brush them away, or push them aside. Especially when they are true.
What’s up with this, sisters?
Our ship comes in, but we can’t enjoy it.
We finally get the promotion, job, partner, house, life we wanted, and we can’t even say yes! or credit ourselves for getting there.
Simply put: We suck at receiving.
We can’t take it in.
We have no known way of accepting all the hard-won rewards that we actually deserve.
We are so blocked that we push them away, trash them.
And it goes beyond deflecting praise.
There are so many ways a woman’s receiving block can rear its head.
And let me tell you, I’m not immune to this either.
If I’m not vigilant, and awake, and hitting the tools – I’ll start destroying good things. Upper-limiting is real.
Women know how to give. We know how to over give. But we have no idea how to receive.
We have a serious crimp in our receiving hose.
And where we go, when we hit this crimp, is we blame ourselves, like Cathy.
Or we might even lash out and blame others.
One of my mentors taught me that “Unacknowledged good turns to sh*t.”
When we don’t take the time to deeply receive – notice and celebrate the goodness in our midst – we end up emotionally constipated.
We’ve got no room left to let in more good.
Why? Because receiving is a muscle. You use it or lose it. And most of us were never taught to use it.
We came from women who pushed away compliments.
Who expected that life was about sacrificing for others.
Who never knew they had a right to their seat at the banquet table of life.
Here’s what they, you, us were never taught: Your capacity to receive love is only as vast as your capacity to love yourself.
It’s kinda mathematical, really. We can’t receive any more love than we have, inside, for ourselves.
And the less love we have for ourselves, the more we will feel victimized and disempowered around our circumstances.
So the trick is to notice.
Notice your discomfort at a compliment.
Notice when you feel a sense of unease at having more time, or space, or love than you had before.
Notice how awkward it feels to be witnessed and appreciated.
If you’re seeing signs that it’s time to flex your receiving muscle, I’ve so got you.
Let’s practice receiving together in my 30 Day Bragging Challenge!
The more you swim in the waters of your own accomplishments and gifts the more you will feel deserving.
There’s only one rule for this Challenge: Brag every single day for 30 days. That’s it!
Brag about your beauty, your accomplishments, what a good friend you are, how excellent your self-care is, what a great flirt you are, the activism you do, how much you appreciate every drop of yourself and your life, etc. You Brags can be big, small, microscopic…whatever you’re feeling that day.
To join me in my 30 Day Bragging Challenge, head to Instagram and Facebook and post your Brags in the comments – and also tag @mamagena in your posts, so I can cheer you on!
The more you can receive, the more you can give.
With so much love and pleasure,
P.S. If you know a woman who could use a boost, use some connection to her feminine, please share this blog with her, or have her join our mailing list (scroll down the page till you see a heading that says “Put Yourself On the List”). There’s lots of fun happening on our Instagram and Facebook accounts, too!!
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.