If I were to be asked, “Are you connecting with an open heart?”, I would probably answer yes. After all, my intention is to help, inspire or motivate at least one woman every day. That requires connection.
And then I might get quiet and feel a little tension arise in my lower abdomen.
My mind would start whirling.
And I would wonder, “Am I really?”
Connecting with an open heart:
If you’ve been reading my posts, you already know that I’m a big Brené Brown fan. I’m finally getting around to reading her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and of course, quotes are jumping out for my attention, inspiring me to reflect and to write (as they always do).
Big (and painful) aha’s came up for me in Brown’s comments on connection.
“When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
“…I understand how I derived self-worth from never needing help and always offering it.”
AHA. Judgment: A roadblock to open heart connection.
If you’re like me, you take pride in being able to “do it yourself” when it comes to just about anything. In fact, I have taken pride in (and have been consistently praised for) being able to take the ball and run from as far back as I can remember. It’s been part of my identity.
People trust me to get the job done (paid or unpaid) – efficiently and with high quality. My preference has always been to do that independently, which for me, has been defined as mostly alone. That’s so I can maintain as much control as possible. And, to a certain extent, it has been to respect my introvert energy needs.
But I’m seeing that judgment is on the flip side of that pride coin (actually the entire coin is judgment). I have grown up believing that strength is proven in doing it alone or in being the person who others can look up to and depend on (I’m the oldest of many siblings – it’s some of my ‘big sister’ stereotypes & perfection issues showing up). Therefore, it would follow (unintentionally) that wanting or needing help is weakness.
As I write that, it pains me to connect the dots to the work I do.
Offering help has never been a problem for me. I’m happy to share what I know or use my skills to help people prosper. Receiving (or even asking), on the other hand, has not been so easy. That’s where all the self-worth issues come up. And that’s where I thought it ended. Until Brown’s work got me truth seeking.
It feels so utterly insulting…I would never intend to come across in a way that suggests or assumes that you are not enough (aka too weak to figure it out on your own so you need me to enlighten you). I’m sorry.
Because I’m still learning to have an open heart to receive, it seems that I am still learning to have an open heart to give. I’m right there beside you in working through the challenges that become a barrier to authentic connection. As you can see, I’m certainly no guru (and I can assure you that I don’t want to be).
It seems so obvious as I continue to ponder: If it feels icky to judge others for seeking help, why do we allow it to be acceptable to judge ourselves for reaching out?
We create our own barriers to open heart connection. That means we can choose to remove them, bit by bit. Start with awareness…
Please share this post with a woman in your life who is a “giver”…and who is still learning to “receive”.