Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand

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Overview

Intimacy. Validation. Romance. Nice things. More time. Most women wish for these every day.

In Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand, bestselling author Laura Doyle says that all of these things are available to us, but receiving them makes women feel uncomfortable. We turn away praise at work, help with the house, an expression of admiration so that we appear to be in control. The result is a Superwoman Syndrome: we are overworked and ...

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Overview

Intimacy. Validation. Romance. Nice things. More time. Most women wish for these every day.

In Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand, bestselling author Laura Doyle says that all of these things are available to us, but receiving them makes women feel uncomfortable. We turn away praise at work, help with the house, an expression of admiration so that we appear to be in control. The result is a Superwoman Syndrome: we are overworked and exhausted -- and we feel alone.

In Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand, Doyle provides steps for overcoming the Superwoman Syndrome and explains why:

• If you act like you don't deserve something, everyone else will agree

• Saying what you want makes you more beautiful

• Grateful women have better romantic relationships

• You should let a man support you

• You have to be vulnerable to get emotional help

With her trademark practical approach, Doyle explains why it is "better to receive than to give." She guides you to accepting what you are offered with ease and kindness, which is the expressway to having what you want.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of the bestselling The Surrendered Wife theorizes that learning to receive rather than give will foster better relationships. Addressing women specifically, she builds on her earlier work by stressing that allowing a man to financially support his wife or significant other not only inspires him but makes him feel "masculine and purposeful." Doyle, who conducts intimacy workshops and has spread her message via TV appearances, also draws on many examples that detail ways to graciously receive from acquaintances, friends, colleagues and oneself. Her recommendations include ways to say appropriate thank yous, strategies to overcome guilt that can accompany receiving, avenues to articulate what your true desires are, and ways to resist the impulse, here branded "female," to reject help in favor of doing everything alone. One of the more useful chapters describes self-care as a personal discipline. Doyle suggests doing at least three things a day for personal enjoyment, including meditating, taking a nap or having lunch with a friend. Although Doyle makes a convincing case that women have been socialized to give and often feel awkward and guilty about taking help, gifts and support from others, much of her advice could be condensed into a magazine article. Her text is overly simplistic and frequently repetitive. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743245159
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 4/6/2004
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,090,479
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Doyle is the author of the controversial bestsellers The Surrendered Wife and The Surrendered Single. A popular speaker on relationship issues, she teaches workshops based on her books. She lives in Costa Mesa, California, with her husband.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

The human race has had a long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity. But we now face a task for which we have little experience, the task of surviving prosperity.

— Alan Gregg

Women Reject the Very Things They Say They Want the Most

Years ago some friends offered to treat my husband, John, and me to dinner for our wedding anniversary. As we were preparing for the evening, I started to fret. "Now we have to find out when their anniversary is so we can take them out to dinner," I said to John.

I wasn't thinking about how much fun we would have with our friends, and I wasn't grateful for their thoughtfulness. Instead I turned their gift into a debt that would have to be paid.

But John had a wise response. "Did you ever think that just having your company at dinner is enough and that you don't owe them anything besides that?"

The idea that I could relish a gift without worrying about reciprocating was new to me.

Accepting what someone offered simply for my enjoyment made me uncomfortable. Dinners. Theater tickets that a friend couldn't use. A bottle of wine from houseguests. Neighborly offers such as a ride to pick up my car or the favor of rescuing our mail while John and I were away. A birthday phone call. Anything that was meant to bring me joy or to make my life a little easier and nicer would flood me with anxiety and a suffocating sense of obligation.

And I'm not the only one. One woman described feeling stressed out when her husband invited her for a romantic Friday night dinner. Accepting his invitation meant she had to focus to finish her work, call a baby-sitter (and clean the house before the sitter arrived), and get the kids fed and bathed. Not only that, she figured that her husband would want to have sex with her after they came home — when she knew she would be exhausted.

Ah. Superwoman Syndrome in its purest form.

This woman could have asked her husband, the babysitter (who is paid to feed and bathe children), and even her oldest child for some help instead of doing everything herself as if she were a superwoman. She could have kept the perspective that her husband just wanted to show her a good time instead of feeling obligated to him.

Like me, she had a hard time receiving without feeling indebted.

Favor offering and repaying and gift giving and receiving were column headings on a giant scorecard I kept in my head, and I never wanted to lag behind. Worrying that I wouldn't be able to afford to reciprocate heightened my distress.

All that anxiety and worry was the knife that severed my connections with the people who loved and cared about me. Ultimately, my incessant rejecting of gifts — whether they came wrapped with a bow, arrived in the form of favors and help, or appeared as kind words uttered just when I needed a pick-me-up — signaled to my friends and family that their offers weren't welcome. Eventually, they dried up. And so did the friendships.

When I said that I didn't need help after a dinner party or claimed that I really was in need of a haircut when someone complimented me on my appearance, I was unwittingly keeping my friendships at arm's length. My friends didn't see me as independent and self-sufficient but rather as someone who, in rejecting their offers, was rejecting them.

I felt alone. Without support and the warmth of hearing that I was beautiful or had done something well, my self-esteem flagged. And I was completely exhausted because I had trapped myself in a corner where I had to do everything single-handedly. I didn't realize that I was rejecting the very things that I — and every woman I know — wanted most: more time, help, understanding, prosperity, and validation.

I didn't realize my isolation was self-imposed — I just thought life was overwhelming.

All of us at certain moments of our lives need to take advice and to receive help from other people.

— Alexis Carrel

I Thought I Was Superwoman

Feeling as if I had to be a superwoman who didn't need anything from anybody also put a strain on my marriage because I didn't know how to receive from my husband. When he offered to take me away for the weekend, I argued that we couldn't afford it. Instead of showing gratitude when he washed the dishes, I found fault with his work and mumbled that I could have done it better myself, which discouraged him from helping the next time. I said, "That's okay" when he offered to make dinner because I figured I could do it faster. After I snarled, "Yeah, right" when he told me that I looked great before an important meeting, he stopped complimenting me. Then I was mad because I felt unnoticed and unappreciated.

What a mess.

And that's not all. I felt guilty when I was relaxing or doing something I loved, like walking along the beach or buying a new pair of shoes, because not only was I intolerant of other people's kindness, but I hadn't yet developed a tolerance for treating myself well. Instead, I worked long hours at a job I hated because that felt useful and important, even though it didn't make me happy.

No wonder I was always cranky.

I am a reformed poor receiver.

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

— Sydney J. Harris

What to Do When the Easy Times Hit

Most people know what to do when tough times hit — circle the wagons, hunker down, and try to get through as best you can. If tomorrow is the big deadline for a project that's not ready, you'd probably make a pot of coffee and plan to work through the wee hours. If money's suddenly tight, you ration what you have for groceries and other necessities. If you lose your job, you network like crazy until you get another one. When the goal is survival, it's not hard to figure out what to do next, and you don't feel guilty about it. But when you suddenly have a free afternoon with no responsibilities, get a nicer car than you've ever had, attract an amazing guy who falls in love with you, or get promoted over three people who have been at the company longer, what do you do?

You try to enjoy it, of course.

But that can be tricky.

I knew one couple who lived meagerly until they received a substantial inheritance. Before long, they had spent it and returned to their paltry lifestyle. They understood how to struggle, but they had not developed a tolerance for living much beyond that. Having extra money didn't fit with their picture of themselves, so they unconsciously returned to their low but familiar standard of living. We do the same thing with gifts.

When I first became self-employed, I was so used to working from eight AM to five PM Monday through Friday that I felt as though I wasn't working hard if I slept in on a Tuesday. No one but me was expecting me to get up at a certain time, and I had never been a morning person, but my Protestant work ethic dictated that I should stick to that familiar schedule. If I stayed up late at night writing, I judged myself harshly for being undisciplined and not getting my work done in the morning. I wasn't focused on my excellent productivity (I was writing two books) but rather on the fact that I was abusing the privilege of being self-employed.

Now I recognize that I enjoy writing at night — I feel alert and rested in the evening, and there are fewer interruptions. I've finally developed a tolerance for something that's really great for me — the ability to set my own work hours.

But it wasn't easy.

We have to reprogram ourselves to be comfortable with more love, free time, success, confidence, money, or a situation that is better than we already have, but it can be done.

Receiving is the key.

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.

— Robert Fritz

You'll Feel As If You're Getting Away with Something

Focusing on being a good receiver will help you override any temptation to dismiss or reject the things that you say you want but that you can't seem to get. Chances are, having them makes you feel uncomfortable. In other words, when you change your behavior to become a good receiver — when you tolerate having what is good and pleasurable for you — you will have more peace in your life. If you're like me, you'll feel delight and surprise that life can be so easy.

When you discover the bounty of time, love, and everything else that is good that comes as a direct result of receiving, you increase your capacity for more wonderful, surprising, exciting, tender things to happen to you.

Learning to receive will at first be unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But this book will show you how to ride out the awkwardness.

In the following pages you will learn simple, practical steps that will help you make receiving your habit. You will learn how to choose confidence and graciousness over insecurity and guilt. As a result, your romantic relationship, friendships, and family connections will be more intimate and enjoyable. You'll have more free time and less stress, and you'll develop an acceptance — a tolerance — for what you want but have unconsciously rejected in the past because you didn't think you were deserving.

When you master the art of receiving graciously, magical things happen. Instead of doing the dishes by yourself the morning after the party, you have a splash-fest with the friend who stayed late to help you clean the kitchen. Leisure time becomes more abundant. Instead of having leftovers and watching TV on Friday night, you let someone take you to a romantic dinner and a movie. Compliments you would have dismissed serve to make you feel more confident, and you connect more deeply with loved ones.

Adopting the habits of a gracious receiver will help you draw things to you with minimal effort instead of struggling to pull them toward you by force or manipulation. Becoming a gracious receiver will also make you more attractive. If you learn to receive, you'll have more energy to devote to the things you've always wanted to do — learning French, cultivating a garden, getting in shape, taking care of a child, or running a corporation.

All of this will happen just as soon as you discover and develop your receiving muscles, so keep reading.

Copyright © 2004 by St. Monday, Inc.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

Women Reject the Very Things They Say They Want the Most

I Thought I Was Superwoman

What to Do When the Easy Times Hit

You'll Feel As If You're Getting Away with Something

Chapter 1: How I Discovered My Receiving Muscles,
and How You Can, Too

I Was Standing in My Own Way

I Had the Kookiest Problem

I Had to Override the Alarm System in My Head

How I Know It's Better to Receive Than to Give

Anyone Can Learn to Receive

Reflect on What You Reject

Chapter 2: Begin to Receive

Miss Manners Would Not Approve, Gentle Reader

Things Were Better Than I Could Stand

Get Glad, Not Even

Feel Uncomfortable and Say "Thank You" Anyway

Chapter 3: Speak Tenderly to Yourself

Good Receivers Don't Put Themselves Down

You're the Enemy Inside the Tent

Sometimes Self-Criticism Is So Familiar You Don't Even Notice It Anymore

A Criticism Is Never the Truth

If You Can't Say Something Nice to Yourself, Find Someone Else Who Will

Chapter 4: Pretend You're Comfortable

If You Act As If You Don't Deserve Something, Everyone Else Will Agree

There Was Not Enough in the World for Me

How to Feel Deserving

Receiving Requires Faith

Chapter 5: Get Out of Control

Receiving Means Feeling Exposed

To Have Intimacy You Must Give Up Control

Drop the Gun and Put Your Hands in the Air

Receiving Is Trickier Than It Sounds

Stay in Your Own Skin

I Know Only What I Want, So I Trust Others to Say What They Want

Chapter 6: Receiving Compliments

What Every Great Receiver Knows

Receiving Compliments Well Makes You More Attractive

Feeling Like a Fake Is Better Than Looking Like a Jerk

Chapter 7: Take All the Help You Can Get

Let Others Lighten Your Load

No Woman Is an Island

You Have to Be Vulnerable to Get Emotional Help

Rejecting Help Is Rejecting an Emotional Connection

Get Advice from People Who Have What You Want

Take My Advice — I Won't Be Needing It

Chapter 8: Be Still and Know That You Are Not God

The Cure for the Chronically Busy

Should You Get Involved?

The Danger of Doing Everything Yourself

You're Not the Fire Department

Give Up the Rush

Sometimes Less Really Is More

Busy Isn't Better

Chapter 9: Fill Your Own Cup First

Receiving Requires a Full Cup

No One Can Fix Me but Me

How to Lose Friends and Irritate People

Self-Care Is a Discipline

Forming a Happy Habit
ard

Chapter 10: Own Your Gifts

Modesty Is Dishonesty

It's Hard to Be Humble

Chapter 11: Identify Your Authentic Desires

Only Dead People Don't Want Anything

Will My Real Desire Please Stand Up?

Don't Be Afraid of Impossible Desires

Desires Are Not Dangerous

When Your Brain and Your Heart Argue, Your Heart Always Wins

Desires Are Road Maps to Destiny

Figure Out What You Want

Chapter 12 Say What You Want

Invite Support by Speaking Your Desires

Be Straight and You Won't Manipulate

Saying What You Want Makes You More Beautiful

Secret Desires Can Drive Your Loved Ones Crazy

Your Desires Are Not Set in Concrete

Say What You Want to Someone Safe

Chapter 13: Admit That You Goofed and Apologize for Your Part

Good Receivers Are Accountable

Admitting You Were Wrong Is Not as Bad as You Think

Your Critics Will Be Speechless

There's Nothing Left to Fight About

No Ifs or Buts About It

Admitting You're Wrong Is Attractive

Get Forgiveness from Yourself

Apologies Are Free, So Spread Them Around

It Takes Two to Tango

Chapter 14 Give Up Guilt

"Guilt Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving"

You're the Deejay of Your Own Head

If One Apology Is Good, More Is Better, Right?

Your Words Count the First Time

Contrition Leads to Change

Chapter 15: Accept Apologies

The High Price of Making Nice

Rehearse Your Acceptance Speech

First Receive, Then Accept or Reject an Apology

Not All Apologies Are Acceptable

If You Haven't Been Wronged, It's Right to Reject an Apology

Receiving Apologies Increases Your Confidence

Chapter 16: Never Complain

Make Yourself a Magnet

Gratitude Gets You Further

Gratitude Is a Glass That's Half Full

The Opposite of Gratitude Is Entitlement

Gratitude Shows That You're Pleasable

Grateful Women Have Better Romantic Relationships

Chapter 17: Marvel at Small Things

Wake Up to Your Good Fortune

Saying Thanks Won't Make Someone Stop Giving

Be Grateful for the Things You Hate

When Life Throws You a Hardball, Be Glad You're in the Game

Chapter 18: Reject What Doesn't Fit for You

Know When to Say No

Use the Distress Test

Reject Things That Get on Your Very Last Nerve

Good Things Come to Those Who Say, "No, Thanks."

Listen to Your Spidey Sense

Chapter 19: Foster Romance with Receiving

Let Him Please You

What Makes a Man Feel Successful

Rejecting His Offers Is Emasculating

Consider Keeping Presents You Hate

You Won't Owe Him Anything in Return

Sex Is a Gift

Rejecting Sex Is Rejecting the Relationship

Chapter 20: Let a Man Support You

Don't Try This at Home

Let a Good Guy Support You

Behind Every Great Man Is a Very Surprised Mother-in-Law

You're His Inspiration

What Inspires a Man

Use Your Power Wisely

The Mother of All Receiving Challenges

Chapter 21: Receive Money for Work You Love

Misery Made Me Feel Virtuous

It Pays to Play

Clinging to the Wrong Job Will Keep You From Getting the Right One

How Receiving Can Help You Make a Career Change

Tell Everyone About Your Talents

If You Love What You Do, You'll Never Work a Day in Your Life

Chapter 22: Speak For Yourself

Not Everyone Will Applaud You

Receiving Is Better Than the Alternative

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