It may seem counterintuitive, but many of us struggle with receiving the very experiences we desire – affection, recognition, support, and the like. We can spend so much time focused on what we need to do or want to give that we don’t give equal attention to receiving the good that is coming at us.
The practice for this week is to receive positive messages and energy from others, to nourish and replenish yourself so that you may be of greater service in the world.
As you interact with others, your goal is to simply receive compliments or positive feedback without deflecting, and to observe what happens for you when you do. Any time someone says something nice to you, see if you can notice what happens in your body. See if you can identify the sensations in your body, their location, the feeling behind them.
Pay attention to your response to the other person – do you say thank you, do you brush it off, do you ignore it? If you can, try to avoid deflecting by doing any of the following: diminishing the accomplishment (it was nothing!), diminishing the effort (no problem!), minimizing the compliment (I got this on sale, it’s an old dress, etc.). You may be surprised at how difficult it is to simply say thank you and absorb the positive feeling, but try it if you can.
See if you can observe which types of comments provoke which type of reaction. For example, a compliment about your work might feel warm and grounding, whereas a compliment about your body might feel fidgety and embarrassing. If you can, make a note in your journal about what you observe – how your body felt, how you reacted, what kinds of comments have which effect.
As always, the goal is to observe with compassion and kindness. There is no wrong way to do this. Observe what happens and take care of yourself. If the inner critic shows up, that’s ok. Reward yourself with nurturing and kindness when this practice feels challenging, and allow yourself to absorb it fully when it feels warm and nourishing.