In the dance of ‘give and take’, if you are anything like me, you would rather lead than be led. I admit it. I am not a very good taker. I think I have always been this way, I was programmed early that it was always better to give than to receive. It is not something I ever begrudgingly did, I take great joy from giving!! I am the one who will search for months for the perfect birthday gift for my Mom, or spend months making an end-of-the-year gift for my little dude’s teacher. A desire to make others happy, combined with my perfectionist nature makes me one good giver…. but when the shoe is on the other foot I find it can be difficult.
When I became ill, someone apparently died and made me head-honcho and chief bottle-washer, as I decided then that it was my responsibility to carry the weight of the world on my own shoulders. I don’t know about all of you, but for me, illness has come with a great deal of guilt.
If I can’t vacuum – I apologize.
If I can’t get out of bed – I apologize.
If it rains – I apologize.
If my second-cousin-twice-removed-has-a-friend-who-has-another-friend-who-has-a-dog-who-had-a-puppy-who-got-lost…. Somehow I feel the need to apologize for that too….
I think because I perceive that so many other people have to deal with my illness as well, I try to somehow protect and shelter them, and a part of that is trying to make their life better, and apologizing when my life sucks.
Does anyone relate?
That feeling pours over into almost every part of my life. If I am late at responding to comments here – I feel guilty. When my honey gets up and takes the little dude to school so I can sleep – I feel guilty. When a friend offers to help me with my errands or drives me to a doctor’s appointment – I feel guilty. When I am on the receiving end of most situations… well… You get the idea.
Fast Forward to last week. Some friends of mine who are faithful readers here at Graceful Agony posted something on their Facebook that got my attention. They had an unused Gift Certificate to a Salon and Spa that is about to expire, and apparently had little need for it. So they asked if anyone wanted it – it would go to the highest bidder!
WELL! It didn’t take me too long to jump on in! I have been BARELY managing my pain for the last 3 months, and where I normally don’t have the resources for a lot of extra treatments, I thought that this was a chance for me to go for a massage for a little less money.
What I didn’t expect was for it to be free.
My beautiful friends got back to me right away and told me that they refused to take any money for it. That somehow I deserved it. They were GIVING me the gift certificate, no strings attached!
That is the sound of my heart falling into my stomach…..
I asked for them to take something… ANYTHING for it. But they refused. Not only did they want to give it to me, they also understood that I am not overly mobile and were willing to drop it off to me.
And my heart fell a little further… I was so amazed that someone would do something so kind for me…
And then the guilt set in….
I don’t deserve this.
I should be paying for this.
It is too extravagant….
That is what my illness would like me to believe.
My illness would like me to completely isolate myself from the rest of the world and not have those heart-connections with other people. My illness wants me to feel bad all the time, whether there is reason to, or not.
I now have the gift certificate in my hands, and need to call today to book myself in for a massage. And I reminded of a few things…..
Pain and Illness has taught me many things when I have stopped long enough to pay heed to the message.
I have amazing support and love out there. I need to remember this feeling every time my pain makes me feel alone.
Just because I may not know my worth some days doesn’t mean others don’t either. People don’t see me the way I see myself at times. And their perspective is probably not as clouded as mine.
‘Just because’ might be the only reason someone else needs to be kind, and when you take away the opportunity for others to GIVE to you, you rob them of the wonderful feeling YOU get when you give to others.
The most valuable lesson for me is that I need to learn how to receive… Gracefully…
Thank you dear friends for not only treating me to a massage, but for teaching me a little more about myself. I have learned many things this past week.
I guess THAT would make me the highest bidder. 😉
All my love to you both.
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