Why our greatest fear affects our ability to open our hearts to receive from others. What is this fear, then exactly?
"Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too." ~ Author Unknown
It seems to me as I look around at all the people I know, the greatest fear of all is the loss of control, or the loss of our independence. I know that it is true for me. Our very heritage, rooted in the pioneer spirit that formed our country, the USA, is testament to this fact. It is ingrained in us.
We are hard working, middle-class and average Americans. Independence is our credo. We work hard to earn everything that we receive. God forbid we should have to ask anyone for anything. That would truly be our greatest fear.
This independence and control spills over into our patterns of
giving and receiving. In our Western cultures, we often want to give.
We even love to give. We wish to bestow on others the blessings that we
have received. The giving is not always motivated by altruism and
benevolence, however these concepts are also ingrained in us from our
Flip the coin and we do not really know how to receive anything. If we receive, we are asking for 'help' from others, and instead of feeling strong and in control, we feel weak and dependent. We feel like we have lost our power if we need to receive. This is our greatest fear. None of us want to fit the weak and needy stereotype.
When we have the ability to give we have the 'power.' We are independent, we are strong and we don’t need anybody. Even when we do actually receive something, we need to reciprocate in like and kind. So if I get invited to a friend’s house for dinner, I feel the need to invite them back for dinner at another time. I certainly wouldn’t feed them hot dogs, either, if they fed me steak.
We feel the need to give back that which we owe. We keep that scorecard in our heads, so we never owe anybody anything.
What ever happened to the cycle of Love? Receiving completes this cycle, doesn’t it? We say we never expect to receive anything back, after giving, but do we really believe that? Or do we keep a mental scorecard here too? If we gave an expensive gift, shouldn’t we get one in return?
Our lip service is "It is better to give than to receive." Yet we do not know how to receive. I do believe that this is our greatest fear of all. This is the fear of needing others, the fear of being helpless, powerless and unfit.
It is commonly known in the airline industry that if the cabin becomes depressurized, that an adult should first put on her own oxygen mask before helping her child, or an elderly person. The obvious reason is that if you have no oxygen for yourself, then you will not be able to physically come to the aid of someone more helpless than you.
The same is taught in the healthcare industry. If a caregiver of an ill person never takes time to care for him or herself, then this person will burn out and become unable to care for the other. This is the topic of my article on self-love, which reiterates that you must first love and care for yourself before you can pass that love on to others.
When we look at the cycle of Love from this perspective, it is easy to understand. However, when we look at it from the perspective of the receiver, it is so hard to take!
In order to receive love, to receive help, or to receive a gift we have to depend on someone else. We have to learn to accept the grace of others. This means that we may not deserve what they have to offer, nor do we have to earn what they have to offer. We certainly do not have to reciprocate in kind. We just accept the gift.
Isn’t the willingness to receive about first learning to accept the Grace of God? Isn’t this the Grace of an open, Universal Source that completes the cycle of Love, the cycle of giving and receiving? This Universal Source does not keep individual score cards. It is open and universal and there for all who need it.
Is the lack of control our greatest fear of all? Is the inability to receive the result of this fear? If Grace and Love are gifts from God, why are we so unable to receive? Is it only that we don’t perceive these gifts from our fellow man as gifts from God?
In order to get over the greatest fear of all, the fear of receiving, we have to trust that God/the Universe knows better than us! We have to learn to believe that giving and receiving are equally important for the Universe to function. Without receiving, of course, there is no giving. And without giving, there is no receiving. This is what I mean by the cycle of Love.
Those who are willing and able give to this pool of Love do so with an open and willing heart, expecting nothing in return. This type of giving never keeps records or mental scorecards. Those who need to take from this Universal Source, do so with an open heart, knowing that the pool is deep and wide and that there is enough for all.
If we understand the cycle of Love and practice giving and receiving in this manner, I believe that when approached with a truly open heart, that all gifts that we receive are from God.
The greatest fear, the loss of power and the loss of control, that we believe receiving entails, can be overcome. I struggle with this on a daily basis. I now start my contemplative meditation with my new affirmation, "Today, I am open to receive."
When I approach each and every day with this willingness to receive, then I am humbled, and am waiting for the gifts that a greater Power than my own can now give to me.
What is my power and my control, compared to the cycle of Love, fueled by Grace, to bring me everything that I need? When I look at my greatest fear of loss of control and loss of power, it pales in comparison to the greatest Love of all.
Let’s all take a deep breath, at this moment, and say, "I am ready to receive the greatest gift of all from the cycle of Love." Say, "My greatest fear is conquered, and I am open to receive."