Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand : (. . . When you learn that it is better to receive than to give) The Superwoman's Practical Guide to Getting as Much as She Gives
Why do the things you want elude you?
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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March 28, 2004
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Excerpt from Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand by Laura Doyle
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.