.. people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s a great quote frequently attributed to the wrong person, which makes the point!
Regardless of who penned it, it’s a choice I’ve made now that I get it (slow learner). I think that being wrapped up in one’s self can prevent the opportunity to understand that sharing one’s self with another is a gift and that gift is returned.
A good example, giving someone a smile, be it a stranger on the street or someone you know well. That gift is more often than not, given back; and that makes you feel good. The thing about a gift though, is that there is never an expectation that you receive something in return. Sometimes being on the receiving end of a gift, in many people creates a requirement for payback, to stay out of their debt. It can be very hard for those of us brought up that way to enjoy a gift unless we have the chance to reciprocate. Margaret Atwood wrote a great book ‘Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth’ on that subject, I recommend it. There’s a lot more to it than just personal exchanges so have a read.
It is one of the sources that gave me the strength to accept and to let go of the immediate need to return the favour or not to take it in the first place; ‘you shouldn’t have!’ comes to mind. These are often more of the physical type of thing, material entity or money.
In my daily transactions at work, I have many occasions to give something that is less tangible and not even easy to talk about since it’s more about giving an opening to someone else by not being something. Not being judgemental, critical, sharp or unkind. Being sympathetic, compassionate, considerate and thoughtful. I don’t know how another person feels unless they speak it, but somehow the gift is returned in how I feel when I am that way. And that’s what’s strong with me, day 18.