How many of us have grown up with the above statement as the second golden rule? I know I have and even as an adult, my parents’ gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminder of “sharing is caring” still invades my mind. Can I share a secret with you? I hated it when the adults of my life said this statement and even as an adult, I still dislike it despite my kind and giving spirit. Why do I dislike it? As a child, I didn’t have the words to describe how it made me feel but now, best believe I can say it. I dislike this statement because it “guilt trips” me. It makes me feel that if I refuse to share, I don’t care about that person. Often times, it’s the furthest thing from the truth for me. I care about humanity. I care about others. I truly do. However, when this statement is said, it is when someone is observing you caring about yourself over another person. They call it selfishness. I call it self-care.
The late and awesomely great Leonard Nimoy is quoted above and I truly agree with it. Yet, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Don’t get me wrong. I love to share. I really love to share. I’m known for regularly giving my last dollar to a person in need, my last bite to my loved ones and my time to those who need it most. Trust me, I’m a giving person. Again, I care about others. While I have no doubt the “sharing is caring” statement helped to shape my giving nature, it never helped me to form self-care. It never showed me what I could share with myself to develop more of what I need to be personally successful and happy. Honestly, I could really use more alone time to rejuvenate and be able to entertain my own interests. Often times, I’m asked about my interests and I usually revert back to what it used to be as an answer simply because I rarely have time to myself to develop new ones. Some may say that’s the trade off for being a wife and mother but I don’t see it that way. I shouldn’t have to stop my life because I closely share it with two others.
Sharing creates a relationship. It may be for a season, a reason or a lifetime but there is a relationship created. Care is involved in it. It may be at an agape level (general love) or a phileo (brotherly) level and as time goes on and the relationship continues to deepen it may delve into to being at the storge (affectionate) level or even up to eros (erotic/sensual) level. Care is in each of those levels of love and whether or not something tangible (money, phone number, sex, etc) was exchanged, the mere fact that one has done something separate and apart from themselves as a gesture of kindness should be recognized, but not held as a condemnation for others who did not want to or could not contribute in the same manner. In doing so, that makes the respect and trust factors of a relationship break down significantly and may even be the sealant to its demise. Refraining from judging those who choose to do something for themselves although they could help another may help strengthen your relationship more than you know.
This is also another reason why I don’t like to share. Sometimes, things are held against me because apparently one can’t change their mind after experience or education has taught them otherwise. Here’s a great personal example of what I mean: my food weakness is chocolate. Anyone who has worked with me or has heard me speak about chocolate knows the power it has over me. I love me some chocolate! One day at work, before anyone knew about my love of chocolate, I mentioned to someone rather jokingly over lunch that it wouldn’t hurt to receive chocolates when someone wants something. We returned to work and I thought no more about that statement until a few days later when someone showed up at my office door with two little Hershey’s kisses and an urgent request. I completed the task and they left the Hershey’s kisses on my desk. When I asked them what the candy was for, they replied, “Oh, so-and-so said that you’d prefer getting chocolate when you receive a request. So I brought you some.” I was humiliated and a little upset. You may wonder why I felt the way I did. I felt that way because yes I said it but I said it to the person with whom I was conversing. Not the entire break room, store or world. Also, especially since I’m in Human Resources, I did not want the slightest thought of impropriety or bribery to cross anyone’s mind. My co-worker blabbing could have cost me my job simply because of the carelessness with which my statement was shared with others. Basically put, I don’t like to share much with others until I know for a fact I can trust you with the bit of information I do share. I learned quickly that my co-worker is someone I will have to stay surface level with until blanket confidentiality is practiced regularly.
Simply put, I don’t like to share always but when I do, it’s because I care. So if I care enough to share with another person, that same individual should care enough about me to respect my wishes, whether it means I continue to share or not. Please refrain from judging those who cannot or will not share on the same level as another person. You never know if they are in a season of their lives where they need to work on themselves. I know I’m about to go into such a season which is why this topic is near and dear to me. I’m about to go into a season where I have to put myself first. It’s not being selfish. I’m finally caring about myself and my well-being. Why? Because I cannot share with others what I lack. I cannot share my time with another if I have neglected to give time with myself. I cannot share my money with others and withhold myself from financial obligations just so they can have. I cannot give another the knowledge or advice one seeks if I’m educationally depleted. I cannot give another anything from my lack and while it may hurt to hear, remember this: the person is taking this time out to better themselves now so they can be at their best for whoever will need them later.
Until next time, it’s okay if you don’t want to share yourself because you’re needing time to better yourself. You’re not selfish. You’re self-caring and that should be positively recognized. Care for yourself the best way you know how and get back to care for others when you’re ready. It may be the only times you’re able to work on healing yourself.
Also, if you remember nothing else from this posting, remember this: