Did you just read the title and think what?? Did she type that out right?
Stick with me! I meant it and I’ll show exactly what I mean and why it makes sense.
Before we go any further, this is not about how to feel good about taking advantage of generous people with big hearts. Nor is it about giving people permission to expect anything from anyone.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for ourselves, our own words and actions and it is not anyone’s job or responsibility to save you.
That being said…
We all go through difficulties in life and it would be ridiculous to expect anyone to know how to navigate their way through hardship that they’ve never experienced before. Sometimes we need help from a friend, loved one or a professional. Sometimes we just need time to process things and start putting one foot in front of the other even if we’re not entirely sure where we’re going or how we’ll get there.
Now let’s talk about receiving.
Have you ever bought a gift for someone that you was so excited to give them? Because you thought it was the perfect gift? Or a funny gift? Or a little gift that you knew would put a little smile on their face?
What about if you’ve ever helped a friend or loved one (or maybe even a stranger) during a time of need? It might have been to give them a lift when they were late, or perhaps loaned someone money during financial struggle or maybe even just been a shoulder to cry on when they needed to vent and feel heard. Being a glimmer of light (no matter how small) during someone’s darkness and feeling like you contributed towards their recovery feels so good (even if you wished you could do more)
When we give from a place of love, kindness and generosity, it doesn’t just benefit the recipient, it also has a biological effect on the giver.
When we help, or give, to others, our brain produces hormones such as Oxytocin (also called the “love” hormone), serotonin (makes us feel happy, content and aids good sleep), dopamine (“pleasure” hormone that also regulates your mood, sleep and appetite) and endorphins (which relieve pain and stress while boosting happiness).
This is why it feels so good when we give.
Now, imagine when you’re about to give generously to someone (be it time, expertise, love or money) and that person blocks you from giving.
Not only is that person shutting off the help you were about to give them, they are also denying you the opportunity to experience the benefits of oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
Of course, I’m sure they have their reasons for rejecting your help, and if it’s because they feel they need to do this alone in order to gain the knowledge and tools for future reference, then that’s fine. They are just trying to be self-sufficient.
But what if they are rejecting your help because they don’t feel they deserve it?
Or if they struggle to accept help due to their pride? (This one is so me!)
Or if they are worried what other people would say?
Or if they feel like a burden?
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Have you been rejecting receiving help because of one of these things (or maybe something else)?
When we say no to receiving someone else’s generosity, not only do we deny that person the opportunity to experience those feel-good hormones, we also send a very powerful message to our sub-conscious mind that “I’m not worthy or deserving enough to receive this” which then, of course, puts you in an even lower place.
Now let’s flip the script.
We hear stories ALL. THE. TIME. About people who have had difficult pasts, been in dark places and felt lower than low.
Maybe they were homeless and then started living in government-assisted housing.
Maybe they had difficult and abusive childhoods and then got fostered or adopted by incredibly loving parents.
Maybe they suffered with their mental health and then went to a charity to receive help.
Maybe they (or a family member) suffered with their physical health and a certain organization offered kindness, support, help and guidance.
Maybe they were struggling financially and didn’t have enough money to feed their kids so a food bank helped to keep them going during that difficult time.
A common theme that runs in stories like this is:
After people have given themselves permission to receive the help and support and started to rebuild their lives and after they come out of the hardship (or even just that stage of hardship), they usually want to pay it forward and end up helping others that have been through the same or something similar.
It’s natural, right?
We can empathize with people who are struggling with something similar to what we’ve been through, and as we were given help and support, we want to be that beacon of light and hope to someone else whether it’s with time, money, resources, exposure or something else.
Now, thinking of all those people who decided to accept and receive the help and pay it forward and have made a huge difference in the world collectively and individually. What if none of them gratefully accepted the help? What if they wouldn’t allow themselves to receive the help and support?
They might not have ever been able to rebuild their lives.
They might not have ever got to the place were they could pay it forward and contribute towards making positive impacts on other’s lives.
And let me be clear, not all help and support is free. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to be able to receive professional help or even an experience that we know will help us. Sometimes we have to pay for those privileges and that’s OK too because we are allowing ourselves to receive that next step in our growth or in our journey.
The truth is, giving has a ripple effect on the world.
If someone gives to you, it makes you want to give to someone else, which then makes them want to give to someone else and so on. It’s not always straight away and you don’t always get to give back to the person who gave to you (although when you can, it feels even more amazing!) but not only does it feel good and allow you to start building up from where you are, it also restores our faith in humanity and brings us closer together as a species.
Giving is generous.
Of course it is!
But in order to give, someone else has to actually receive.
So if we want to give generously, someone has to receive generously, otherwise our giving will feel icky and not good.
Receiving will benefit both parties and you then send a powerful message to your sub-conscious mind that “it’s OK for me to receive this. I deserve to receive this” After all, what if you have to receive this in order for you to go on and help others? In that case, it’s selfish for you to not receive…
If you’re in a position where you need to receive some help, ask yourself (or journal out) these question:
What help do I need?
Who can I ask for help that will be able to direct me to my next steps?
What would be my ideal outcome?
Why is it good for me to get this help?
If you don’t need help at the moment, how can you give help to someone else?
Can you phone someone that may feel lonely?
Can you surprise someone you love with something that will make them smile?
Can you buy a stranger a coffee anonymously?
Give yourself permission to receive those feel-good hormones in exchange to giving to someone else!