Love shouldn’t hurt – ever

‘Tis the season of giving and receiving
Often we think of our needs as a burden to others, we don’t want to worry our friends and family or impose on their time. We may think, “they have enough on their plate, I can handle it.” However, when our shame and discomfort in asking for help prevents us from making requests and we decide on behalf of the other person we are denying them the opportunity to help meet our needs. Giving, receiving, and supporting each other is a beautiful natural impulse. Think about the last time you helped a friend, family member, co-worker, or partner – it felt good, right? Our very survival as a species is rooted in our interdependence. Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and kindness.

Receiving is necessary and important and it offers a chance for others to give. It’s not about expecting others to give, it’s about receiving without guilt or neediness, and without feeling obligated to give back. Do away with negative thoughts such as, “I don’t deserve this” or “now I owe them,” and instead reflect on your friendship and the love and support from the giver. Marshall B. Rosenberg said, “What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.” We can think of asking for our needs to be met as a gift, in other words, a request for help can become an invitation to experience the joy of giving and receiving. Fear of rejection or failure often prevents us from asking for help, but we can never be one hundred percent certain of an outcome, the only thing we know for certain is that if we don’t ask, then it’s guaranteed that we won’t get the help we need.

Reflect on a time when you helped someone because of a genuine desire to do so. How did it feel? When we give from a place of love and without expecting anything in return it can be an energizing and freeing experience. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Happy Holidays!

If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

-Rebecca Hieronymi

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