Recently I gave a talk where I handed out copies of my books, audios, movies, etc, to each person who asked a question. The crowd loved it, as most crowds do.
It was also an illustration of the power of giving. I told stories of my giving money to causes and people, and even a beloved car to a friend, as examples that giving feels incredible.
But later at my booth a woman came up to me, explaining her dire financial circumstances, and asked for my help in choosing what product of mine to buy. She couldn't decide.
As I talked with her, I learned she was a medic in the military. She was retiring soon and wanted to open her own business.
I thought about how our troops are helping us and decided I wanted to help back. So I handed her a copy of my bestselling CD and DVD course, The Secret to Attracting Money.
She refused it.
I explained that learning how to receive was an important part of growing.
She cried, still refusing the gift.
I kept talking and she finally accepted it.
But the experience made me wonder why it's so hard for most of us to receive anything.
Then it was my turn.
Later the same day my friend, Lori Anderson, asked me what I would say if I were given a choice between two gifts.
I was curious but suddenly vulnerable and protective.
She said, "I know you're interested in the art work we saw earlier, and I know you're interested in the handmade drum we saw. Which would you accept as a gift?"
I crossed my arms. I stared at Lori. I felt my heart open but yet my mind wanted to shut it all down. I was being offered a gift. A big one. Both were expensive. Both were treasures to me.
Knowing I had to tell the truth to remain in integrity, I replied, "The drum."
"That's what I thought," she said. "I'll go buy it for you."
I stood there in shock. My body shook a little.
Years ago a coach would ask me and other clients, "How good can you stand it?"
He used the question as a way to probe our sense of deservingness. Most people self-sabotage when things get too good for their comfort zone. They feel they don't deserve the extra good coming their way.
I've seen this behavior repeatedly in people. There have been people I have personally helped (at no charge) who suddenly reach a point where an inner switch goes off and they stop accepting my counsel. It's been sad to see, as most of them have great potential (which is why I was helping them), but when they hit their ceiling for deservingness, they pulled back.
My friend Gay Hendricks puts it this way:
"What is the 'Upper Limit Problem'? The 'ULP' is the human tendency to put the brakes on our positive energy when we've exceeded our unconscious thermostat setting for how good we can feel, how successful we can be, and how much love we can feel. The essential move we all need to master is learning to handle more positive energy, success and love."
ULP it is.
I saw it that very same day when a friend I was freely helping suddenly insulted me by email, as an unconscious way to get me to halt my giving.
I saw it earlier that day with the medic who initially refused my gift.
And I saw it rear up in myself later still that same day when I was offered a one thousand dollar drum as a gift.
Learning to receive may be as powerful as learning to give. It's a way to stretch your capacity to love.
Here's the punchline to round out this story:
Later that very same day (yes, the same day) Mathew Dixon came up to me -- not knowing any of the above -- and told me of a drummer he met who was beaming with excitement because he had sold a special drum he made and he needed the money.
Of course, the drum he made was the one Lori bought and gifted to me.
Do you see the win-win-win?
The drummer made the sale, Lori got the joy of giving, and I received the beautiful drum.
And I absolutely love my drum.
Learn to give when you're moved to do so -- but also learn to receive when the moment comes.
How good can you stand it, anyway?
Dr. Joe Vitale is the star of the movie, "The Secret." He is also the author of way too many bestselling books to mention here. To name a few: The Attractor Factor, Zero Limits and his latest, Attract Money Now. He's also recorded many Nightingale Conant audio programs,and most recently, "The Abundance Paradigm." He also created a Miracles Coaching program! Please visit http://www.mrfire.com