By mid life, many of us have read so many self-help books that we don’t know what to do. Some insights gleaned, some new ways of framing things for ourselves, but a lot that does not seem to help us change what we want to change in concrete ways. If like me, you are guilty of skipping over doing the exercises inside self-help books but instead reading them, then this is the book for you.
It is a tiny book published last year that gave me so many “aha moments” (nod to Oprah) within the first 20 pages that I want to share it in case you can benefit too. It is called “The Power of Receiving: A revolutionary approach to giving yourself the life you want and deserve” by Amanda Owen.
Her premise is that many of us are ‘receiving impaired’ (my phrase), and that receiving may actually need to be learned. We all know about giving. Giving is celebrated in our culture. I know. This year I made the choice to stop volunteering for 5 organizations and working 2 jobs while single parenting.
Here is her list of phrases from a non-receiver:
* People take advantage of me. * I don’t get what I want. * I feel taken for granted. * I’m always there for others; no one is there for me. * People don’t listen to me. * I can’t count on anyone. * The only way something gets done is if I do it. * I know what is good for other people but I don’t know what I want.
And as far as relationships go: “The only possible match for someone who doesn’t know how to receive is someone who doesn’t know how to give.”
Flashing red lights! Who doesn’t allow baggers at grocery stores to help her when they ask? Who couldn’t accept a counselor’s offer of a free time slot because it was, well, free? Who needed to nearly lose her child and job in order to accept help? Who has spent most of her adult life outside relationship and was told by a married friend, “Oh, I admire you. You’re like my relative who’s 55, single, and doesn’t need anyone.” Hello? Excuse me, but only people who are inhuman don’t need people.
Another insight from the book is that feelings are universal, so the more open and honest you are with feelings, the more people can relate to you. Stories, however, are unique (at least the particulars). I am someone who is fascinated and moved by people’s stories, but has little to no clue about what my own feelings even are to be able to explain them.
Here’s another quote I love that is mentioned in the book from Dennis Wholey (another self-helper whose work I have not read): “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.”
I love this quote because I am. A vegetarian, that is. And a good person like you all out there. We are taught to work toward our goals until we lie gasping from exhaustion, grasping the ring. This book shows us another way.
The author gives exercises to do that are LITERALLY 2 minutes a day in order to shift your perspective on receiving the good available to you in the world, and manifest a goal. I have set a timeline for March 2012 for my goal to manifest, and because my goal is shy, I will post my goal’s outcome in March should it be reached.