When to Say “No”

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

Last time I wrote about saying “yes” to receive more, but are there times when saying “no” to something that’s offered is best? Absolutely.  Sometimes people give just so they can receive or because it puts them in the position of being owed something.  Have ever been around someone who never let you forget what they did for you?

Because giving and receiving are so interconnected, it’s natural to want to give back when we’ve received something.  But what if someone offers us something just so we’ll be indebted to them?  In my work with singles, I have been told about situations where a woman was uncomfortable accepting help from a man because she felt she would then owe him something.  I wrote in my book about a man I dated for several weeks who became increasingly unpleasant to be with.  When I confronted him about this, he finally
acknowledged that he thought by now, after all the dinners he’d bought me, we’d be “farther along” than we were.  I don’t mean to suggest by my examples that this is a male trait; there have been too many stories about mothers laying guilt on their children over their labor and delivery not to have some element of truth to them.

Unfortunately there are occasions when people take advantage of the connection between giving and receiving.  The process works when it’s balanced.  Pay attention to your inner guidance.  Do you feel peace and relief over the offer or is there a knot in your stomach?  Now the latter might just be your standard resistance to receiving — or it could be something more.  Proceed with caution and seek the opinion of close, wise friend, if possible.  We do need to both give and receive to live a full and joyful life, but they should each be done freely, with no strings attached.

Say “Yes” to Give and Receive More

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

I find many people reluctant to say “yes” to what’s presented to them, particularly invitations to gatherings, parties, mixers, and similar events.  I remember giving a Come As You Will Be Party years ago, inspired by piece in Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.  The idea is to hold a celebration where all the guests come dressed as they would be five years in the future, after having achieved their most heart-felt dream.  I only invited people that I knew were goal-oriented and had specific plans for their lives.  I was amazed how many of them were intrigued by the idea, but held back responding to the invitation and in the end did not come.

If this describes you, I invite you to reconsider this line of thinking, especially if you’re trying to receive more in your life.  First of all, your presence does matter; you would not have been invited otherwise.  Many times when I go to an event as a courtesy to the host I find that it is I who was blessed in the end.  Perhaps someone was there I was grateful to see or meet.  It might be that I was able to offer some information or a contact to a guest that no one else there could have.  Or it might simply have been an exceptionally fun and relaxing time that I would have missed out on.  These opportunities are typically perfect examples of how giving and receiving are so connected that we cannot tell them apart.  Say “yes” to the next invitation you receive and see what happens!

Feeling Worthy to Receive

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me….”

Many of us grew up hearing this classic hymn in church.   I did, and it’s still one of my favorites.  However, I prefer the updated lyrics I’ve heard: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a soul like me….”  If you were to look up the definition of wretch, you’d find it means someone who is pitied,  nnoying, or despicable, whereas soul is much more neutral and can refer to feelings, spirit, essence, or anyone.

While humility is admirable, it can be taken too far, and when it is, this extreme perspective will not help your efforts to receive.  For some, it is this sense of unworthiness that blocks them from receiving the good they seek and sometimes even the basic things they need.  In my survey on receiving, half of those who reported difficulty receiving what they need experienced feelings of unworthiness to some degree.   I recently heard someone asked what she would change about the world if she could change one thing.  A thought came to mind for me that I’ve held many times: wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone on the planet knew, really knew, how much God loved them?

As a child of the Creator, your nature is goodness and you are worthy to receive.  Great teachers from all the ages have taught this.  As Marianne Williamson states, “In the eyes of God, we’re all perfect and we have unlimited capacity to express brilliantly.”  If you’d like to explore this notion further, check out the writings of Ernest Holmes, Catherine Ponder, Edwene Gaines, Wallace Wattles, H. Emilie Cady, Marianne Williamson or the authors on my recommended reading list.

Compassionate Listening Enhances Trust

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Emotional intimacy requires a high level of trust, and trust is established over time.  When we have superficial sex, typically early in a relationship, there can be no trust and therefore no real intimacy.  When we commit to sane sex, we’re willing to invest the time it takes to build trust, and one practice we can use is compassionate listening.

To listen with compassion, we need to do our best to be judgment-free and accepting.  Strive to listen carefully and patiently for both words and tone to understand what’s really important.  If you find it difficult to relate to what the other person is saying, try to imagine what the person might be feeling.  Many psychologists and spiritual teachers say every emotion is rooted in either love or fear. Can you listen more deeply for the underlying emotion?

Trust is enhanced, and compassion is easier to accomplish, when we can avoid making assumptions or projecting our values on the other person.  People need different kinds of support, and they express their compassion differently.  Some may lend a shoulder and offer wonderful emotional support, while others are inclined to be more objective and lend a hand, helping to get things done. The classic advice, “when in doubt ask!” still applies.  Ask for what you need, and ask how you can show support.

Humor is a great way to break the tension, but it can be overused to avoid addressing a difficult subject.  It can also surface when we’re feeling discomfort over the motions someone is expressing.  If it’s your tendency to use humor, be sure to stay alert for your partner’s response.  Your attempts at humor could be misunderstood. If your partner’s use of humor upset you, express your feelings gently but openly, remembering that his or her intentions are good.  He or she might be genuinely uncomfortable with the level of sharing; this may or may not be something you can overcome.

However your communication develops, be sure to explore what’s happening between you.  Compassionate listening and sharing at this level could either enhance your closeness or be an indication that you two may not be able to achieve emotional intimacy.

More Small Steps to Wellness

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

Everyone has a lifestyle or manner of living, a set of habits they engage in every day.  Some experts have estimated that up to 70% of visits to the doctor are lifestyle related.  This is good news, because unlike genetics, lifestyle is something you can change.  Here are some small steps to wellness:

  • Engage in physical activity four days out of five during the week and on at least one weekend day, for at least 30 minutes if possible.  Exercise is essential to a long, healthy life, and with over 600 major muscle groups, you are designed for movement!  Small steps: start with ten minutes a day. Walk the dog, weed the garden, or dance.  Go swimming with the grandchildren, clean out your closet, or just stretch for ten minutes. Be sure to have fun and get moving.
  • Set yourself up to succeed by having what you need in the house and handy.  If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it.  That goes for fruit when you want it and ice cream when you’re trying to avoid it.  Small steps: make a grocery list throughout the week.  Shop once a week and prepare food ahead of time.  Divide your snacks into individual servings for convenience during the week and to avoid overeating.  Wash the grapes and cut up the melon.  Hide the chips in the back of the pantry and keep the healthy snacks right up front.  Keep a food scale and the measuring cups within easy reach, too.
  • The holidays are coming, so plan ahead, beginning with Halloween.  As you prepare for visits from little ghosts and goblins, be strategic at home and work.  Small steps: buy candy you don’t like or can easily pass up.  Use my “no eating food at work that you didn’t bring” rule and avoid all the bowls of candy located around the office.  Bring your own healthy treat.  Set a goal not to eat any Halloween candy and reward yourself with present such as a massage or new CD.

Remember to start small and build on each success for last results.

Is Perfection Your Goal?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“The idea of perfect closes your mind to new standards. When you drive hard toward one ideal, you miss opportunities and paths, not to mention hurting your confidence. Believe in your potential and then go out and explore it; don’t limit it.”  John Eliot, Ph.D., Reverse Psychology for Success

Last week I wrote about how hearing of another’s success can be motivating or demoralizing, depending on how we look at it.  But that doesn’t just happen when we compare ourselves to another person; it could be the expectations we have of ourselves that cause the same discouragement.

Just today I two conversations along this line. The first was with a business colleague who was feeling disheartened over her inability to do it all. She was exhausted caring
for her business, home, family, and self.  I resonated with her statements, having been there myself many times.  The other was with a close friend who told me she sometimes wonders if she is the only one who struggles with certain issues.  She acknowledged that my recently admitting my own difficulties along the same lines encouraged her – she realized that she was not alone!

I do believe in goals and know the statistics about how much more people who have written goals achieve compared to those who don’t.  But let’s not get caught with perfection as our goal.  We do not have to do it all, have it all, or be it all.  What if we let ourselves just be for a while, and see what comes.  If doing so for a whole day is unrealistic, how about an hour?  Let us do only what is truly ours to do and free ourselves to explore the opportunities and paths that come when we let go of perfection.

Safety and Trust Encourages Emotional Intimacy

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

A definition of intimacy that I offered in Worth Waiting For: Sane Sex for Singles was “a close relationship rich in familiarity, understanding, and confidence formed in a quiet atmosphere where detailed knowledge and private utterances could be exchanged.”  Given this definition, it makes sense that when you’d like to become emotionally intimate with someone, you need to know yourself well, recognize an appropriate partner, and then create an atmosphere of safety and trust.  If you are to exchange “private utterances” with this person, it’s essential that you feel absolutely safe when sharing your thoughts, feelings, reactions, and emotions.

Picnics, quiet dinners, scenic boat/train rides, and other activities that allow you to talk comfortably are ideal for sharing meaningful conversation, expressing the need for support, and acknowledging concern for each other.  Even car rides can be opportunities for dialogue, so keep the radio and DC player off.  Movies, concerts, tours, and other similar forms of entertainment are comfortable introductory dates, but they’re not suited for the kind of communication needed to foster intimacy.

Small Steps to Eating Better

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

There are certain habits that consistently correlate with positive health indicators, such as a lower risk for disease or the ability to maintain a healthy weight.  The good news is that these behaviors are not all or nothing.  Here are a few ideas about eating well and small steps you can take to get you started in the right direction:

  • Eat breakfast every day.  Many people believe they don’t need or can’t eat breakfast, when really they never have had a habit of eating breakfast, don’t enjoy it, or don’t want to take the time for it.  The brain needs carbohydrates to function properly, and the metabolism wanes without anything to fuel it, so the body physically requires that you eat within the first two hours of rising.  Small steps: start the breakfast habit with a glass of juice or piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, a hardboiled egg, or a cheese stick. 
  • Eat every four – six hours to keep the metabolism from dropping and help you avoid overeating later in the day.  Studies show that eating regularly also helps to maintain a healthy weight.  Small steps: keep healthy snacks handy, such as those mentioned above or breakfast/granola bars, nuts, whole wheat crackers, carrot and celery sticks, or popcorn.
  • Make healthy choices when dining out.  Small steps: choose water, iced tea, or coffee rather than soda; select a side salad rather than fries; opt for grilled meats rather than sautéed, breaded or fried; ask for your salad dressing and sauces on the side and a take-home box right away; and don’t eat portions any larger than you would at home.

Choose one or two of the small steps to begin with. Once you’re comfortable with those, add another.  Check back next week for more ideas.