With the birth of my third baby, I learned maybe one of the biggest lessons I’ll ever learn.
I was fairly new in the town I’m living in but I had made some friends and my neighbors were great. Several people offered to make and deliver a meal for me when I was newly postpartum. My natural inclination was to turn down any and all offers 1) because I had more help postpartum than anyone else I know. I didn’t *need* the help. My mom lived with me, and my mother-in-law came to help, and my husband took some time off too and 2) because I was slightly concerned about what people would make. My husband and kids are picky, and I was trying to follow a diet according to Chinese practices, and then there was fact that they would likely not use the same type of ingredients that I would choose (yes, an absolute first world problem).
But I ignored those concerns and accepted EVERY SINGLE offer of delivered meals. I had five friends drop off meals within that first month postpartum.
What I learned within the first or second meal dropped off was not that I know some great cooks or that people are so so generous.
It went way beyond that.
I learned that community and relationships cannot be forged by just giving. You have to receive as well. You have to say yes when someone asks, “Can I…?”
Receiving shows vulnerability. It shows that I need you, and in a sense, I am not better than you. It shifts the transactional relationship of give and take to a continuous flow of giving and receiving.
This is all to say – when you deprive – and yes, I do mean deprive – someone of the opportunity to help, listen, hold space, share, cook, and offer things to you, you are creating a wall of “I don’t need help,” “I don’t want to be vulnerable” and in the back of your mind, unconsciously saying, “I am too good to receive your help.” You are cutting off the chance to build community. Relationships can only be formed with the exchange of give and receive. It may not always feel equal but that’s not the point.
Don’t stop giving, but try receiving. Shut those voices in your head that say you can do it alone because they only serve to keep you separate. Say yes when others offer. You may be surprised how it opens a whole new portal to your relationship.
A daily practice challenges the person who creates on “inspiration.” We have to mother everyday, and ultimately, it is the daily grind that gives us perspective, clarity and the “high’s” of motherhood. I am exploring if the same happens when I write everyday on the topics that normally light me up – motherhood, self-development, healing and creating. Sign up here to receive those thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.