Client Journal: Saving vs. Receiving

Receiving in an intimate relationship is an act of surrender. What would it be like to just fall into another without fear or judgment?

Client: What is the balance between helping and just receiving someone else? I don’t want to be a “saver”. I want to be on the receiving end too, which is so hard. I am trained and paid to solve problems. Through the long-term relationships I have, it is so much easier to have the flow, the balance is easier to find, than when I am in the women’s group. Thank you..

Marta: When you’re receiving, that is all your doing, just receiving. Receiving is a practice. To merely take in another person without jumping out to save them is being able to have emotional boundaries that hold you, like water in a bottle. If you want to help, you ask, “Is there anything you need from me?”  If not, then you can feel your compassion, but you do not have to do anything else. You can just say I understand how painful that is for you. And that’s all. Sometimes people just want to vent, and nothing else. If you don’t want them to vent to you, draw a boundary. Ask them a question that gives them responsibility to solve their own problem: “What are you going to do about it?” or,  “I don’t feel I am able to do much but listen, right now,” or whatever you feel is the truth for you in the moment. Most times when a person is expressing a feeling, if you give them advice, try to fix the problem or distract them from their thoughts or feelings, they might resent you and close down; ie: helping someone across the street who doesn’t want to go across the street. They’ll hit you with an umbrella. One time I told a friend I was feeling sad. The person answered, “Why don’t you write down everything you’re grateful for and the sadness will go away.”  I answered, “What makes you think I am not grateful because I feel sad?”

In terms of being received, you need to be able to ask the person for what you need. You cannot assume that others know what you need.  Many times we need recognition, attention or to just be hugged.  It is OK to ask for recognition and acknowledgement. We need to be vulnerable to receive and ask for what we want. We need to trust ourselves and others.

The balance is to know what you need, what you want, and what you are willing to give.  In truth, none of us can save anyone…. all we can do ask, “What do you need?  Inquire into yourself: what is the healthiest thing for you emotionally that you can give or not?  Or just give your empathy, by sharing something personal that you went through to connect to them….not give advice, just share that you have gone through a similar situation. If the person wants to know how you did it, it is up to them to ask you. This way you are not giving yourself away, you are sharing, connecting and giving yourself validation without seeking it out or saving anyone.

Receiving: Receiving is when a person is in the moment, fully engaged, alive and simply allows the expression of another to come into their bodies like a drink of water. We allow it to drop in and then we feel how the other feels to us, without judgment or the need to change them.  Receiving is a surrender to the other. Not a giving up, or passivity, but an openness to truly feel who the other is and what they are saying. You don’t have to agree or feel as they do, you are just there to hold the energy. In receiving both you and the other are fully connected and seen. Most of us just want to be seen and heard. If you are receiving another you will feel warmth, energy and an aliveness that will then turn into a feeling in your body. Once you receive you can simply express with a feeling, I feel________. If you want to share why you feel that then you can, if not then you can just wait until the other person tells you what they need.

Caretaking-Saving: When you want validation to get another person’s love. There is a fear of loss that the other will leave unless you give them an answer or take care of them. There also a control and unworthiness in this act of saving. Unless a person is falling off a mountain, about to be hit by a car, or going to drink a poisonous drink, then saving a person is interference in their ability to take care of themselves.

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