Counselor's Corner: Receptivity


The experience of having someone respectfully and receptively listen uplifts and energizes.  It feels like being received and respected by the other person.  If you are sad, you feel accepted. If you are happy, you feel accepted.  If you feel angry and critical, you feel that someone wants to go deeper with you and be receptive to the pain underneath your anger or critical attitude.  So often we journey through life with people who have a habit of saying “Yes, but” and then proceed to try and correct us with their own judgmental opinion which is to point out that our viewpoint is inaccurate. At this moment, the receptivity we thought we were experiencing from this person disappears. We feel alone and unsupported. 

Most of us journey through life with the desire to have other people be receptive to how we think and feel. Being receptive to another person doesn’t mean we agree with everything they say, but it does mean that we lovingly and attentively listen without negativity or correction. We allow the other person to be received by us with warmth, empathy and compassion.  It is a good thing to avoid correcting another person unless they are asking for our viewpoint.  People need a compassionate heart before an opposing viewpoint.

When I become receptive to another person with warmth and kindness, I create the atmosphere for both of us to become more receptive to Love, Compassion, Kindness and God.  Life is meant to be lived with receptivity toward other people and with a receptive awareness of whatever I see in this present moment.

A friend of mine coined this as “active receptivity”.  When I am actively receptive to whatever is around me, I slow up in my actions and thinking. This choice to slow up allows me to be receptive in my awareness to whomever is with me and to whatever is around me.  This receptivity gives meaning to each moment of life.  I then become aware of the Presence of God in everyone and everything.

The more I am actively receptive to paying attention to another person, the more that other person feels loved and feels a connection to me.  I think active receptivity becomes an experience of a Power, Strength, and Love that is present all around us. Some people would call this the Presence of God.

Awhile back I did an interview with a young woman who is legally blind. It was for a magazine where I am an associate editor.  I have known this young woman for a number of years because her father is a good friend of mine.  This amazing woman who was a 24 week preemie has had to embrace many physical obstacles in her life. She is filled with a total receptivity and compassion for everyone in her presence. To speak with her is to be inspired with her total humble receptiveness to my presence. I felt so respected and so received by her. The interview was energizing and inspiring because of her humility and compassion and total attentive receptivity to what I was saying to her.

Life is meant to be lovingly receptive to one another.  Life is meant to be receptive to what we see and do.  Receptivity is to be open to the present moment and become actively aware and receptive to whatever and whomever is around us.

Receptivity is to have an open and loving heart.  Receptivity is to listen with love and compassion and to put my judgments away and to make the determined receptive effort to understand another person.

I think religion and psychology needs to be always about helping people become more receptive to God, others and self.  It must never be about condemnations, judgments and criticism.  It must be about helping others become lovingly receptive to life.  When I am with people who are receptive and loving toward me, I want to be a better person.  When I am with people who want to argue, convince and tell me what is wrong with me, it becomes difficult to be motivated to change.

Throughout centuries this planet has had many wars, persecutions, discord, and angry viewpoints. This will always be present in different ways. However, I do not have to participate. I can become lovingly receptive to everyone and everything. In this receptivity I can bring more goodness into the world and I can experience the positive Love, Wisdom, Energy and Goodness of God. I want to let GOODNESS take over. I must become receptive to this Goodness which is all around us at every moment of life. I need to be actively receptive in each moment of life.

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