Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 24, 2011

Do You Know How to Receive?

©2010 by guest blogger, Amanda Owen

Note: The following is the second excerpt from The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve (Tarcher/Penguin) by Amanda Owen. See the first excerpt here: If I Accept the Gift, Do I Owe the Giver?

 Are these statements familiar?

  • People take advantage of me.
  • I don’t get what I want.
  • I feel taken for granted.
  • I’m always there for others; no one is there for me.
  • People don’t listen to me.
  • I can’t count on anyone.
  • The only way something gets done is if I do it.
  • I know what is good for other people but I don’t know what I want.

Although it can be tempting to blame people for your circumstances, if you have not cultivated reciprocity in your relationships, I invite you to entertain the following statement.

The only possible match for someone who doesn’t know how to receive is someone who doesn’t know how to give.

Non-Receivers are drawn to non-Givers. In other words, the problem is not that you have been drawn to non-giving people, but that you are an inexperienced Receiver. The reason this is an important distinction is that you can’t control others’ behavior; you can only control your own.

You can learn to become a Receiver. I am going to show you how.

Do You Know How to Receive?

Definition of receptive: “ready or willing to receive”

I imagine you are familiar with the maxim it is better to give than to receive. You have probably been taught about the importance of giving. Giving to others can feel rewarding. Receiving can also. We are grateful when our partners are generous, our children considerate and our bosses appreciative.

Yet, how often have you turned away what people offer you, whether it’s a compliment, picking up the check at lunch or even an apology? How many times have you wanted life to give to you but found yourself saying, “Oh, don’t worry about me . . . I’m fine.” It’s the equivalent of the old martyr joke: “That’s all right. I’ll just sit here in the dark.”

What happens when you don’t have experience in receiving? You are likely to believe the following statements:

  • Wanting something for yourself is unseemly at best and greedy and selfish at worst.
  • You shouldn’t burden others with your troubles.
  • People who achieve success without help are admirable.
  • Those who achieve success while enduring significant hardship are even more admirable.

You are also likely to feel uncomfortable asking for what you want unless the following conditions are met:

  • It doesn’t make others uncomfortable, upset, or angry.
  • It doesn’t interfere with what people want for themselves.
  • It doesn’t interfere with what someone wants for you.
  • People agree with you.

However, when you are the one who wants to give, it’s easy to see how silly it is for someone to refuse what you offer, whether that is assistance of some kind or a gift. It’s frustrating! Interestingly, a person who rebuffs your help is often the same individual who frequently complains, “I feel taken for granted and unappreciated; no one takes my needs into account.”

Buy the book here:   The Power of Receiving on Amazon or here: Barnes & Noble

See the first excerpt from The Power of Receiving  hereIf I Accept the Gift, Do I Owe the Giver?  And Amanda’s previous article on Skywriter here: Neptune’s Role in Giving and Receiving.

What about you, Readers?  Do these statements sound like you?  Leave your response in the comment section.

About the Author: Amanda Owen’s research during the last twenty years into the nature of receptivity and its link to manifestation led her to develop a system that helps people manifest the lives they want by developing their capacity to receive. She reports her findings in her latest book The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2010) Learn more about Amanda and The Power of Receiving at


  1. You have done a great job of explaing something that has been difficult for me to get my clients to understand. I will definitely be pointing them to your blog, and hopefully some of them will read the book you recommend as well. There are a lot of people who could really benefit from understanding the art of receiving.

  2. When I realized that I keep finding myself in relationships with non-givers I put the question: “I do not see what would you like to give me.” (1st stage of realizing the problem.)
    He: “Why, what do you want out of me?”
    Me: “Your presence.”
    He: “I’ve given it to my sculptures.” (he’s an artist)

    I have a bunch of planet in the 12th and the 1st house. Strong Uranus. I’m the only way sg gets done if I do it type. At the same time I have Libra Moon and asc, Sun conj. Venus, really in need of relationships. I can’t wait for Jupiter coming into my 7th, followed by some progressions of the 7th house ruler! 🙂 I’m tired and really ready to receive… 🙂

  3. This is me, all right. I found the perfect astrological explication of this behaviour at Lynn Koiner’s site in her 3 columns about transpluto. She thinks transpluto should be assigned rulership of Virgo and I am, sadly, inclined to agree with her.
    Thanks for raising this topic but is it ever difficult to change what has been drummed into one since they could barely walk, by family, religion and society.

    • I have come to see receiving as a skill that can be learned. And even though our cultural messages have elevated the Giver while ignoring the Receiver, in my experience it is not difficult to bring giving and receiving into balance once one knows how. I think this is because both giving and receiving are natural.

  4. This is embarassing, but my problem is that people are forever giving me things I DON’T want or need and then I am expected to be grateful for them. I do have good taste, but often suspect that I am a closet snob (Venus conjunct Saturn). Donna

    • That’s so interesting Donna. The very act of receiving — in all of the ways we encounter the role of the Receiver, can feel so problematic. We can be uncomfortable or not even know how to express what we do or don’t want. The Giver has a halo and the Receiver is left to figure out how to handle the Giver — and the giving.

    • is there a jupiter hard angle in that mix by any change? Just curious where the getting of baubles not wanted can be reflected in a chart, if you don’t mind revealing, that is. 🙂

      • perhaps a 8th -2nd dynamic by rulership or otherwise?

      • Nope, I really think it’s the Venus-Saturn conjunction in the 11th, because it has to do with my taste being very different than my friends. Donna

  5. I think expressions like “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” are double-edged swords that fit a lot of the questions you ask us, Amanda. When I “squeak” I feel like a nag or a bully, and am rarely comfortable with it. Finding the comfortable place to ask from can be so hard. It has so much to do with feeling undeserving. Your statement, “The only possible match for someone who doesn’t know how to receive, is someone who doesn’t know how to give” is really an eye-opener. Seeing give/give couples together is a beautiful thing, but not nearly as numerous as give/take couples.

    Thank you for these enlightening articles, Amanda, and you, too, Donna, for sharing them with us on your blog.

    • Thanks CJ for your comment. This reminds me of a quote from Madonna that begins the chapter ‘Do You Know What You Want?’ I’ve thought a lot about this quote over the years.
      “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.”
      I think finding that “comfortable place” that you speak of is simply a matter of practice. I know that sounds too simple! But over the years I have found that it takes much less than one would imagine to open the gate of receiving and to become comfortable with wanting, then asking, then receiving.

  6. Amanda, thank you for giving us your insight. A thoughtful topic…

    Got me thinking our 5th-11th Houses may reveal more information about this dynamic in our lives. Our individual generosity is symbolized by 5th House sign, planets, and ruler (naturally aligned with Leo, Sun, giving); and our 11th House – which is the 5th House of our 7th House partner – offers clues to how others respond to our generosity, i.e. our perception of what we receive from others (or not). Looks like baggage and issues here can get corrected-accepted (6th-12th) or dragged into social interaction (1st-7th).

  7. Dear Amanda,
    Thank you so much, Amanda

    This is a wonderfully apt column for me to read today. How intuitively obvious and how hard to spot in myself! Thank you and I will look for the book.

    Take care,

    • Thank you Shelley! I’d love to hear your thoughts after you read my book. So much of what may seem confusing about receiving is spelled out so clearly. I’ve said before that our culture doesn’t have a vocabulary for receiving. But once you learn it, you can’t help but become an adept Receiver.

      • Good morning, Amanda. I see that you’re onsite reading the comments. Thanks again for letting us reprint this. I know it will help a lot of readers. Much love, Donna

    • Thank you Donna for this opportunity to get the Receive-message out into the world. I am really enjoying reading the comments. The topic of receiving provides such enlightening and rich discussion. It is my hope that one day the Receiver archetype will be as familiar to us all as the Giver 🙂

      • As they say in New Yawk, from your mouth to God’s ears! Donna

  8. Hi Amanda and Donna,

    Just so happens the subject of receiving is what I’m working on with my therapist. Last evening I came to a big realization. I had learned (been ingrained with I guess is more accurate) so early where ‘my place’ was, I created a line I won’t step over. May be invisible but it’s very real to me. I get just so close to someone, to receive their love, caring, concern, the big life gifts, and I literally can’t take a step further. In the case of my therapist trying to show me safety in moving toward, all she has to do is mention the proximity between us as a demonstration, how I’ve let her in, and my next inclination is to move my chair backward ten feet.

    Donna, I had to laugh about the closet snob. I too have the good taste gene, but somehow must not convey my sense of style well enough to others, even though my gift giving is always painstakingly researched via observation to make sure it is appropriate. I wouldn’t dream of eating Twinkies when I could satisify my sugar fix with something so much more worth it. But somehow, people have thought pastries that have been proven to last years due to their chemical content appeared to be something I’d appreciate. The only way I’d be able to appreciate Twinkies would be, if they were given to someone who really wanted them, or better yet, no investment by anyone, sending a clear message to the manufacturer his product had no value. Can’t deny snobbery with all that said, can I?

  9. with sag AC trine pluto, sextile venus & neptune in a minor grand trine and an exalted jupiter conj. uranus in the 8th? No. I would have to say I always ready to dip into the eternal pool of abundance that is reality with no regrets or thoughts of “taking more than my due” or “not leaving enough for others.” the pool is bottomless and fed from the eternal springs of an ever expanding cosmos!

  10. Thanks so much for this illuminating post. I do struggle with the ability to receive. With Cancer Moon conjunct Saturn on the DC, I’ve long played the carer role, but I’ve never thought my own needs were important. With Pluto now beginning to oppose this conjunction, perhaps it’s time to redefine 🙂

  11. Hi Amanda:
    Just completed my order for your book. Interestingly enough I was just commenting to a friend the other day that I’d come to realize that I was never going to get what I wanted and that I was put here to watch other people get what they want. Always being thoughtful and going out of my way for others and never getting any of that in return has manifest into resentment. I am looking forward to learning how to break this cycle. Thanks, Pamela.

  12. Ditto for having troubles receiving anything, even if it’s justly earned. It must be the Venus-Saturn conjunction, and an earthly Moon and Mars trine…which feels more comfortable working hard for something rather than receiving it out of nowhere. Having been like this for years, the only way I can get something I truly want but unattainable with my own efforts is by actually tapping the conduit back to the giver or givers. If I want something, I make the effort to ask, and I give a specific time frame when I expect to receive it. I rarely get a refusal, the least I got was an extended time frame. Of course, in keeping with my Saturn-inundated-Venus in the 12th, nobody knows what I want because I addressed my request to the universe at large. So when I receive it, I could gush for days on end about receiving something I truly wanted – amidst quizzical looks.

    • Ah, yes, it IS a feature of Capricorn or Saturn to feel that everything must be earned. That’s the contrast I’ve often observed between Leo and Capricorn. Leo feels it was born to rule, that it is entitled; Capricorn feels that it must climb the mountain (or the corporate ladder) step by slow, solid step. Donna

      • I seriously think there’s my Sun biquintile Moon at work there – in honing the skill of asking from the universe at large.

  13. Hi Donna and Amanda- I found this page as I was reading up about a friend’s astrology chart information and then found this page. I almost cried! This has been the crux of many of my issues ( I’m 46 turing 47 in May). I have 5 planets in the 7th house in Taurus with neptune in my first ( Scorpio). I can’t wait to get this book. Thank you Amanda for writing this book. I know it will help me. Thank you!

    • Hi Katie,
      I am so glad you found this page and left your comment. We are not taught that receiving is as natural and healthy as giving. In my book, I show the connection between the giver and receiver and give you lots of tools so that you can receive as much as you give. I look forward to hearing your thoughts after you read it!

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