EPIC Love. This topic has been playing on my mind for a little while and as per usual, I had to blog it to figure it out. It all stemmed from, — y’all guessed it — a three minute TED Talk by Laura Trice on giving and receiving ‘thank you’s.
Laura Trice wanted to praise and thank people she met, but would stop herself before she opened her mouth. In her digging into her reactions, Laura found she did not ask for what she needed to hear to feel appreciated, either. Why was it so easy for Laura to ask for an extra sugar at a Starbucks, but not for words of affirmation from her loves ones? Why don’t we ask for what we need, and why do we deny ourselves the joy of receiving praise?
[ W A R N I N G: S O U L – B A R I N G S T O R Y A H E A D ]
Like so many of the women I know, I struggle with asking for what I want. I also struggle with receiving praise and appreciation. Seriously, try it out with me. I either quickly come up with a meaningful complimentary response, or, worse — I try to justify the comment. “Don’t be silly, everyone does that!”.
This seemed to be a perfectly acceptable response for me. Until it wasn’t. In recent months I’ve been through earthquakes of change in every arena of my life. I won’t bore you with the details, but the most important thing to know is that I have realized where I fall short in relationships — romantic and otherwise!
O u c h
See, I thought I was a pro at relationship building. I give, I support, I champion, I go out of my way for everyone — so much so I go out of my own way. I go so far out of my own way that I end up forgetting my way. ‘Kim, that doesn’t sound like a relationship, that sounds one way and self-inflicted’.
O u c h, a g a i n
My tribe keeps me whole, challenged and safe. And in their ever-loving wisdom, they opened my eyes to the possibility that my fierce independence might be the thing that stands in my way of great relationships, and maybe even what I call, ‘EPIC Love’.
What’s EPIC LOVE?
In a conversation with one of my favourite CTI Leadership coaches, I witnessed a fiercely independent and courageous woman speak candidly about her desire to be in a relationship where she didn’t lose herself, where she does not feel she is “too much”, and where she can experience the divinity of mutual reciprocation. My froach (friend + coach) wanted a true partnership.
What I learned from my froach was that EPIC Love is the epitomy of selfless giving and RECEIVING in all forms of relationships. Mind. Blown. Somewhere in my subconscious I knew and understood the rules of relationships, but never had it been so clear.
To be in a true partnership with someone, we must learn to both give AND RECEIVE SELFLESSLY + GRACIOUSLY
See, I had the giving thing down. I’m a go-getting-whole-hearted-never-stops-kinda-giver. I’m most comfortable in spreading love and generosity like Nutella. Thick, unabashedly and abundantly. Have you seen me with Nutella? I’m all in. Ask me to receive? Ha! We’re scraping the bottom of that jar for the last drops of chocolately goodness — and I’ve been comfortable with less-than-my-share for too long. I didn’t know or understand why or how I could be so one-sided.
What story was I telling myself?
Clearly, something was out of balance here. How was it possible for me to give so freely and receive so stringently? It comes down to a few things…
fear ✯ vulnerability ✯ permission ✯ unfamiliarity
By allowing myself to receive – and, let’s go one step further – by ASKING for what I need means that I was outing critical information about myself. What could someone do with this information? They could hurt me, hold me hostage… or they could give me everything I ever wanted: the purest and most unconditional friendships, and EPIC Love.
In forsaking what I want and need from others, I am quite literally forsaking myself. From there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump over to self-sabotage just to avoid my most basic of fears.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? ~ Marianne Williamson
To break it down: if I receive what I need, I may become more than I conceived and in my head I have conditioned myself to believe I’m not ready for the doors that it will unlock. There is fear in the unfamiliarity of vulnerability, and stepping into fear is like stepping into the light of the sun for the first time. Painful on the eyes, but liberating for the heart.
Oh, the wondrous web we humans weave… By humans, I mean me. By denying myself the ability to receive, by not giving myself permission to ask for what I need, I whole-heartedly deny myself the JOY of a reciprocal relationships. I’m trying to control the scales so I don’t take ‘too much’. The irony is that in giving so freely I create an imbalance in what I give myself permission to receive. With so much going out, it’s hard to let anything in.
It all starts with thank you
Coming full circle back to the concept of receiving appreciation, I think the first step is to say THANK YOU and hold space to feel appreciated. Appreciation is a foreign concept for me, and believe me, it’s not a lack of being appreciated by others.
Just like happiness, appreciation is an inside job. We ourselves teach others how to treat us, so it is me that has to make the first move.
Thank you to my loved ones. Thank you to my friends. Thank you, universe. Thank you, me.