One of my internal struggles in intimate relationships is the vulnerability associated with receiving. Allowing pleasure from someone’s gesture or gift creates an opening of awareness that the behavior of another person can impact me. It brings a desire for something that is never guaranteed because it is outside of my realm of control. It is provided by someone other than me and it’s offering is unpredictable and therefore unsettling. Even when receiving the gift brings me pleasure, the gut wrenching awareness of wanting and needing something from others can rob me of the feeling the gift was meant to evoke. Enjoying the gift feels like handing over power to the person who provided the gift because it is met with immediate knowledge that the same person can take the gift away just as fast and unexpectedly.
This pattern developed alongside the unveiling of knowledge that some of the gifts I received from a past partner came backed by ill intentions hidden to me at their offering. The person who extended the pleasure knew that they were giving me something to get something in return. There were strings attached. Once the ill intentions came into my knowledge, I no longer had a place reserved for the joy I experienced from their offering. This experience killed my ability to believe that a similar level of joy is possible from gifts or actions that are actually tied to good intentions. It is hard to trust that some gifts are about nothing more than creating an experience for me and that in itself is a motivating factor for those that love me.
The thought behind this pattern is that no one offers a gift without strings attached. Before I receive a gift, I take on the responsibility of trying to figure out what strings come attached to my pleasure. This exercise obliterates the entire experience for both the recipient (me) and for the giver. The gift giving ceases because no fun is derived from the hunt I have created. When I no longer receive gifts, fuel is added to the story I tell myself about my unworthiness for being loved by someone.
I want to believe that some gifts are offered for no larger reason. I want to invite the possibility that some people derive pleasure from just the act of giving a gift. I want to feel powerful when I receive a gift because I am worth it.
Understanding my current thoughts is the first step to changing my thought patterns. When I can develop new thoughts, new emotions will become available and I will begin to act from a set of different emotions to get the outcomes I desire in my life.