We’ve all been taught that it’s better to give than receive. But, what if it was really the other way around? If we look deep into ourselves, we might realize that there is not a giving problem that stands in the way of our ability to receive what is right for us. Instead, for many of us, it’s actually a receiving problem.

The Automatic Brain

We all possess what I call the “automatic brain.” This brain is the primitive part of us that has evolved little over the 250 thousand or so years Homo sapiens have walked on earth. Its sole purpose is to recognize danger, threat, or vulnerability and then generate the necessary thoughts and behavior to fight or flee the danger. Dangers for everyone are different, but the reaction is universal—fight-or-flight. The way our brain learns what will be dangerous is a compilation of inputted data mostly from birth to adolescence. We also carry with us some genetic imprints from our ancestors. As adults, much of what makes us feel vulnerable or threatened, though, has its roots in childhood.

So what does this have to do with giving and receiving? For many of us, receiving good fortune acts as a danger trigger to our automatic brain. For example, growing up you may have heard statements like, “those greedy business owners” or “blessed be the poor.” So fast-forward now to you as an adult. Let’s say you have a great idea for a new business and start getting some incredible breaks. As the days and weeks go by though, your enthusiasm wanes and you develop some anxiety, trepidation and even some sad, melancholic moods. This is because your automatic brain filed away that owning a business is a bad thing and triggers an urge to fight that which is right for you.

The Three Triggers

Money, health and relationships are the big three danger triggers. Ever been involved in a great relationship, or experienced good fortune and found yourself wondering when everything was going to go sour? Triggers often can leave us anxious and feeling like the other shoe is getting ready to drop.

Take this situation for example. Many people think that all of their financial problems would be solved if they just won the lottery. But is that really so? Say a woman named Sue wins the lottery and decides to treat herself to a Hawaiian vacation. She sits on the beach, watching dolphins playfully jumping in the water. As Sue reaches for a sip of her piña colada, suddenly she feels a slight twinge of pain in her chest. Her automatic brain races to fill in what is happening to her—is she having a heart attack? Could it be cancer? Sue notices there is a pain in her leg. The fight-or-flight thoughts keep coming and Sue finds herself in the grips of fear. She got what she wanted, but her automatic brain detected money as somehow dangerous, so it began generating thoughts and behaviors to make her fight or flee this “danger.”

Accepting Our Good Fortune

When good fortune occurs, one must accept it without any preconceived notions of what it might mean. Let’s say that you are in a relationship and your partner with whom you have been arguing does something genuinely caring. Instead of going with the automatic brain generated thought, “yeah, he’s being nice because he wants something,” or “she’s nice now but tomorrow she’ll be the same old nag,” receive the act with no strings attached. It just is. It stands alone from past and future events. If suddenly your depression from the real danger of unemployment is alleviated by a part-time job opportunity, receive it with no conditions. Do not believe, trust, or take direction from the fight-or-flight thoughts such as, “I’m a loser, I can only get a part-time job.” Or, “I might have a job now, but what happens next week when it ends?” Or, “Yeah, it’s money, but I’ll never have enough.”

When we learn to receive, with no strings attached—that is, not believing that our good fortune is somehow dangerous, as dictated by our automatic brain—we then position ourselves to want to give on our own terms, with no strings attached, either.

When you ditch your automatic brain and receive fully and unconditionally, it unleashes a healing power within, exposing your personal power, opening your mind, and revealing an authentic spirituality that is immune to limitation.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Glassman began distributing a weekly motivational email message to patients and friends in January 2007. By May 2008, his distribution list had grown so much and interest in his messages had become so high, Dr. Glassman decided to turn his philosophy and advice into a book. That’s how Brain Drain came about. Starting in May 2008, his weekly messages—now distributed to an even larger audience—formed the basis for chapters of this book.
To date, Brain Drain has won in the Spiritual category at the 2010 Los Angeles Book Festival and received honorable mention at the 2009 New England Book Festival. Brain Drain has also been awarded the 2010 Pinnacle Achievement Award for best Self-Help book by NABE and is an Eric Hoffer Award winner.

Through his book, private practice, public appearances, continued weekly messages,and Coach MD (medical coaching practice) Dr. Glassman has helped thousands realize a healthier, successful, and more abundant life.

Visit his website at www.CharlesGlassmanMD.com