My business partner, Barry Kapp, has always enjoyed spirited discussions about the belief that ”It is better to give than to receive.” He discusses it in his book, Wisdom of the Earth Speaks the Truth about Medicinal Aromatherapy, and in our certification classes, as well. Seriously challenging the concept, he has even gone so far as to state the opposite…”It is better to receive than to give”. While I wouldn’t go that far (I think it is just taking a problem and turning it inside out!), I do agree that it is NOT better to give than receive. I think that both are equally important, and our ability to do one is related to our ability to do the other!
I was having an interesting conversation with a friend today, and we were talking about the positive effect on manifestation of having more than just yourself calling it forth from the Universe. I belong to a wonderful group, Whispering Energy (WE), which is all about mutual support, upliftment, and collaboration. I was telling my friend, Paul, that perhaps I should ask my WE colleagues to help me manifest more vacation renters for my beautiful little cottage outside of Sedona. ”Oh, my YES”, he said. It is much more powerful for a group to be intending something than an individual. Ask for their help!”
Wow. Ask. And that is when the red flag came up for me!! In my work as a medicinal aromatherapist, I frequently counsel with people who tell me that they are great at giving…but that they find it really hard to receive! This is a very common problem, and while it affects both men and women, I have heard it more frequently from women. “I’m so glad”, I often tell myself…”that receiving is NOT a problem for me!” I love compliments, and accept them graciously, and I love to receive all manner of things…gifts, hand-me-downs…you name it! But as soon as Paul said the word ASK…the fireworks went off. I have a very, very difficult time asking!
While most of the exchange I have heard centers around people’s comfort with giving and receiving, I have heard very little about people’s comfort with asking! So, I would like to bring that aspect into the discussion.
As I reflect on why I am so darned uncomfortable asking anyone for anything, three main reasons bubble to the surface. One…and for me, the most obvious and painful…I am afraid of being told NO. I am afraid of being rejected after “putting myself out there” with the request. Asking…an open invitation to rejection!
Second, our culture reveres independence and self-sufficiency! “Pulling yourself up by your boot-straps” was something programmed into me at an early age as the epitome of accomplishment. Depend on yourself! Never need anyone else! So, asking is clearly signifying that you are not a member of the “boot straps” club!
Third, asking someone for something can be viewed as intrusion…putting them on the spot to either help you, or face the uncomfortable task of telling you they won’t. I was brought up NEVER to intrude on people, and NEVER to put someone in an uncomfortable position…to “put them on the spot.” So…I began to understand why asking anyone for help would be a very, very hard thing for me to do.
I am sure there are other reasons…but these three loom very, very large for me. So, receiving…YES! As long as what is being given is being OFFERED. Asking? Now, that is completely another story.
E. Belvin Williams, a former Senior Vice President at Educational TestingService (ETS) was a wonderful boss of mine…and my first real mentor in the corporate world. He taught me a very important lesson about asking. Bel was one of the smartest, strongest, most powerful people I knew…and have ever known. Yet, I noticed time and time again, he would ask people for help…”My car is in the shop…would you help me by driving me over after work?” “I don’t want to leave my car in the airport parking lot..would you be willing to drop me off at the airport on your way home?” And so forth.
What I also noticed was that his asking…and their agreement…and the carrying out of the favor, created a bond between them. That giving and receiving, the most ancient of dances, became the basis for a personal relationship that served him well in his business life. I want to quickly add here that Bel was also open to helping others…it was not a one way street. But I also noticed that most people (me, included) were not prone to ask!
I have considered this a number of times, over the 30 or so years since those experiences, and have realized that Bel, who was very secure in his position and in who he was, as a person, did not at all see this as “lowering himself” to ask for help. He knew he was powerful in our setting, and did not see it as inconsistent at all that he would also, at times, need the help of others! It is like leaders who think they ALWAYS need to lead…when there are times when it is more appropriate that they follow! It is the confident leader, indeed, who has no problem stepping back once in a while and letting someone else lead, when that is the right thing to do.
When I remember Bel, and the positive outcomes of his willingness to ask, I am encouraged to do it. Left to my own devices, I do not. So…as usual…let me turn to the plants & trees for their support!
Siberian Fir Needle is a great essence for helping to release unproductive belief patterns. What a wonderful way to start changing behavior! Five to seven drops on the crown chakra every morning to clear away those old thoughts of intrusion, rejection and dependence.
Bergamot helps to build confidence…so that reaching out to others is seen as a strength, not a weakness. 3-5 drops on the sole of each foot (since this is a citrus and can be skin-sensitive) before bed will help anchor this belief.
Spike Lavender supports balance in giving and receiving, and if you are giving more than you are receiving, Spike Lavender will make it easier for you to ask for what you need from others. 5-7 drops over the heart should do the trick!
Grapefruit takes the fear out of asking for help! She softens that feeling…diminishing it gradually until it fades to nothing. She replaces it with an optimism that can’t be erased by the occasional rejection you may encounter. She just whispers “Ask someone else! Don’t take it personally!” in your ear, encouraging you to persist in the face of discouragement. Again, as a citrus, I would start by applying it to the soles of the feet…though Grapefruit tends to be the least skin-sensitive of all of the citruses.
Patchouli helps us to know what we want. How can we ask for what we need if we are unclear or doubtful? Patchouli creates a clarity around our needs and wants that helps direct us to the resources that will help us address them. Third eye and/or crown chakra are good places to apply Patchouli for this purpose.
Ylang Ylang keeps that heart open and stresses the importance of receiving, not TAKING. The difference? Relationship. Giving and receiving is a two-way street, and Ylang Ylang keeps the importance of relationship and gratitude in the forefront of our minds. Apply over the heart or heart chakra.
Black Spruce supports us in taking risks, after all, doing something different, doing something that initially makes us uncomfortable, represents a certain amount of risk. With Black Spruce on our heart and crown chakra, we have the courage to step out and ask for the help we need.
With the help of the Plant Kingdom, and the awareness that asking is a stepping stone to an exchange between people that deepens your relationship, you are on your way to that magical place of “Ask, and ye shall receive!”
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