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How to Receive Love

Good morning, friends!

I use iGoogle for my home page and one of the many gadgets I have is the "How to of the Day." I usually ignore most of the gadgets but today one "how to" jumped out at me: "How to Receive Love." Usually the "how to," provided by wikiHow, has instructions for more concrete things like "How to Use a Bench Top Bandsaw" or "How to Make Candy Airplanes," so "How to Receive Love" is an unexpected thing to find. It caught my eye because I've been becoming more and more aware of the difficulty I have in doing this.

How does someone receive love? Perhaps a better question to ask is, "Why do people have difficulty receiving love?" This wikiHow explains:
When it is hard to receive love for fear of the consequence of letting down your defenses, it might be that you are hiding behind cynicism, pride, or trying to remain too emotionally strong, so that you don't have to face the possible hurts that loving might bring or facing aspects about yourself that you don't like.
No one could ever accuse me of being too emotionally strong, but proud? I don't think so, but that's something that's hard to determine about oneself in an objective manner. Cynical? Definitely. But how does one stop being cynical? I notice that wikiHow has instructions on how to be cynical, but not on how to stop. Perhaps in learning to receive love, one can lose their cynicism. What are the steps?
  1. "Trust people who tell you that they love you." Can one turn trust on on command? I'm not sure I can.
  2. "Stop fearing loss." This is referring to the loss of love from others, such as the loss of friendships, something I've experienced much of. How does one stop fear? Hmmm. By choosing to step into the place of fear despite all the chemicals in your body telling you to flee.
  3. "Love yourself." They say this is the hardest.
  4. "Let love in and don't block it." I do block it. I'm afraid to believe it is real.
  5. "Beware the voices of societal negativity." I feel uncomfortable when someone praises me or says something good about me to my face. I like hearing them, but I'm afraid of appearing proud. The authors say to embrace compliments and other indicators of love and caring.
  6. "Show love." A friend and I were discussing that recently. I always thought that I was good at this but I'm beginning to realize that I'm not at all. In some relationships I have built such thick, high walls of self-protection that the love I show is minimal. Not good.
  7. "Watch the experts at receiving love." Ah! I had an e-mail this morning about this. I subscribe to "The Generous Wife" tip of the day and today's tip was for couples to find one or more other couples who have obvious love for each other and spend time with them. It's an excellent way to watch the "experts."
Perhaps you have the same difficulty as I do. With God, all things are possible, even learning to receive love.

God, I'm not so good at this receiving love thing as I used to think. In fact, I think I push it away. Help me loosen my grip on cynicism and be willing to take the love of others at face value. Help me to trust you, even if I have trouble trusting the person who claims to love. I can trust you to take care of my safety in relationships. Thank you. So be it.

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About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

Memories of Mikael Vincent Tien Doe Chan

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at debbiehaughland@gmail.com or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …