How to Receive More Joy
Here is a powerful metaphysical truth: in life, you will get exactly as much love, joy, and abundance as you are willing to receive. There's no such thing as luck; it's not about fate, or gender, or which family you were born into. Those are limiting beliefs, that something outside of yourself, out of your control, is keeping you from manifesting your heart's desires. No, you have the job that pays the exact amount of money you are willing to receive, the partner who treats you with precisely the amount of love with which you treat yourself, and your entire life, in fact, from your circle of friends, to your schedule, directly corresponds with your capacity to receive.
The universe wants you to have it all. Are you willing to receive it?
Gay Hendricks wrote about this idea of limiting how much good we allow ourselves to receive in his book The Big Leap. He called this phenomenon our upper-limits, an idea that changed my world when I first learned of it, and which continues to influence how I look at both myself and life. We upper-limit by picking a fight when things are going well, stirring up drama, or manifesting illness, all because (unconsciously) we don't believe we're worthy, or we have limiting beliefs that keep us from manifesting what we say we want, such as a fear of outshining others (just to name one).
The more I become present, the more I notice the subtle ways I limit myself; I notice the places in my life where I'm not comfortable receiving love, or abundance, or even something as small as a compliment, without a follow-up thought of I don't deserve that. Who? Me?
This morning, I was browsing the internet, looking at pictures of craft studios. I love the magazine Where Women Create, and I've secretly always wanted my own craft studio: a place I could house beautiful beads and fabrics and finger paint to my heart's content. As I dreamed of owning my own studio, something occurred to me, an insidious voice crept in and told me: You don't deserve your own studio. It's that perpetual self-doubt, that voice that tells you no, you need to lose ten more pounds, you need to buy that expensive wrinkle cream, your writing isn't good enough, that creates our realities.
One idea that I love from A Course in Miracles is there's no such thing as an idle thought. Every thought creates: the good, the bad, the in-between. Every judgement of yourself and another are creating, and often, limiting, your reality.
Upper-limits feel like you can imagine a version of yourself with the perfect job you know you'd love that would, also, afford you lots of free time, the partner who would complement your idiosyncrasies in the most unimaginable way, and this version of yourself meditates, eats healthy, and maintains a regular yoga practice (mine does, anyhow); however, you can only experience this other you through a glass wall. You can only get so close. There's something keeping you from manifesting what you know you're capable of.
What is it?
For me, there's a side of myself that doesn't feel worthy. Some part of me tells me that I don't deserve love. (Am I supposed to admit that? Is that acceptable in our society?). But the truth is--the TRUTH is that you probably think you love yourself (most people do). And you might even think it's absurd that I would openly admit to such self-deprecation. Me? Pretty, with two masters degrees, a "good" job, and nice friends? Yes, part of me hates my guts! And part of you might feel similarly. I can't help but wonder...
- Are you procrastinating starting a project that would give you a deep sense of fulfillment?
- Are you in a relationship with someone who doesn't treat you kindly? Who criticizes you, or asks that you change?
- Do you wish you had a different job, but your mind finds every reason why you can't leave your current position?
- Have you tried every diet under the sun, but for some reason, you just can't seem to let go of the weight?
- Have you manifested a face full of acne? (I'd have to answer yes to this one.)
Then you might not love yourself, and you might not be letting yourself receive joy because some part of you, your inner-child, some voice echoing your parents, or the school system, or the world, tells you it's not safe to have it. It's not safe to receive too much money...or too much love...who do you think you are?
I know so many people who are talented, brilliant, and kind, and yet they think so poorly of themselves. "Jokingly", they put themselves down, or refer to themselves in unkind ways. When I suggest that they are wonderful, they look at me like I am foolish. Sometimes, it even makes people uncomfortable--to hold them in such light.
And so here I am: setting the intention to hold myself in such light; a light that says I am worthy; I deserve joy and success; it's safe for me to shine and to receive.
Here's my plan:
1.Practice EFT daily. EFT stands for emotional freedom technique, also called tapping. It's an exercise in which you tap on various points on your face, hands, wrists, and collarbones, places that store memories and energy, for the purpose of releasing them. Often, when I do EFT, I begin to sob, because I can feel so much resistance coming out of me.
2.Affirm: I am willing to receive everything. This is an affirmation I got from Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness. In other words, I am willing to receive judgment, compliments, criticism, ideas, opportunities, changes, people; I want the whole enchilada. I have barriers against nothing. I am willing to be open and receive.
3.Notice what you are NOT willing to receive. Last week, I was at a drink-and-draw sort of event with my friends, and I felt too embarrassed to share anything I drew, because I didn't feel my drawings were worthy of being held up to the group, nor could I have espoused the witty off-the-cuff banter the the other professional illustrators seemed to be spewing so effortlessly. I was not willing to stand out, to shine, to receive judgement, even just to have others look at me. Imagine the limits that places on how much success I can allow when part of me is unwilling to have others pay attention to me.
Become present to the places you are unwilling to go, feelings you are unwilling to feel. Are you unwilling to feel the nervousness of going on a first date? Are you unwilling to leave your job? Are you unwilling to leave your partner, even though you're unhappy, because you're just so comfortable and averse to change?
4.Take small steps as a sign to the universe. Take action. In my case, I could sign up to read poetry at a cafe. I could put myself in situations where people look at me, where I'm the center of attention. Little by little, I would learn that it's safe, that nothing too detrimental results from having eyes on me.
5.Visualize, pray, and expand. Imagine yourself opening up and receiving. Imagine white light flooding through your body, carrying with it love, joy and happiness, and it's soaking into your cells. Tell God that you are ready to receive and you will do whatever it takes. Breathe. Expand your awareness. Feel that you are the entirety of the universe, not a being contained in the smallness of a body. Repeat as many times as necessary.
I am learning to be gentle with myself. This is a process. As I unravel and open up, I remind myself to do so slowly, and to treat myself as I would a small child--with love and patience.