Sharing is not an automatic behavior, it is a learned one. Hopefully children are taught at an early age how to share, but sometimes it just doesn’t stick going into their adulthood. No one should ever feel pressured to share what they have, but when you do share, there is a certain etiquette and responsibility involved.
There are all kinds of sharing etiquette to learn once you get out into the big bad world. How to share the road, food, pictures, thoughts, fears, etc. There are sharing obligations and sharing responsibilities. There is a hard and fast rule for all kinds of sharing, but the best rule of all is To Share.
No matter what you do in life, learning to share is very important.
You can learn how to share, but you also need to learn how to share with no expectation of getting anything in return. This is the hardest rule of all to learn. Throughout your life you will find that most often when you share there will be absolutely no return to you. That’s because people are not taught to feel obligated to give something back to you. They are taught to receive your generosity and to be grateful. Perhaps someday they might return the sentiment to you, but not always.
So when you share, do it with love and humility. Don’t do it because you expect something back.
I share because it makes me happy. I love seeing a person’s happiness when I have shared something with them. That’s what I always get back, no matter what I share. To me, this happiness is more valuable than any trinket you could offer me in return.
I pay attention to how other people share too and try to incorporate sharing techniques I like into my own sharing methods. Sharing my homemade items came about when I saw someone else do it on Facebook. I thought this was an ingenious way to motivate me to be creative, but to also share my crafts with others. That was a glorious activity that spurred me on to creating and sharing all through the year.
Every January I would post on Facebook that I would be making homemade items to send to friends all over the world. The only rule I had for myself was that I didn’t want to pick them, I wanted them to decide to be a recipient. So the first ten people that responded to my post would be the lucky recipients for that calendar year. The first time I posted it, not many people responded. In fact, I had to really push to get my quota of friends. I don’t think many folks believed I would send them anything. After I had finally gathered my ten friends, I started working on my plan to deliver.
When I completed a craft to send, I started posting photos of the item and everyone usually got excited. After that first year, Homemade for the Year became very popular and other people started posting their own invitations to send homemade items out too. It went viral among my friends on Facebook and that was gratifying to me. Now other friends have their own Homemade following and more and more people are sharing.
There is a responsibility that comes with sharing.
I want to stress this because it is very important. When you share, be inclusive. Include everyone involved. When you exclude anyone present, and just as worthy, in your sharing activities then you aren’t really sharing at all. This kind of behavior is socially unacceptable and can be taken as spiteful and actually selfish.
When someone openly shares, but excludes an individual, they have just shown you who they really are.
Having complete disregard of the person’s feelings when they have been excluded in the sharing activity is the mark of someone that is not generous at all. However we all make mistakes sometimes and if you have forgotten someone there is always time to correct the oversight by including them. It cost nothing to be generous and inclusive, but it can cost everything to be exclusive.
If you are unable to include everyone present, then share what you have at another time so that no one feels left out. Sharing something should never result in another person’s feelings being hurt. There is never a time when something like this can’t be avoided, so that excuse will never fly. There is always enough to go around if you plan accordingly, and even if you don’t plan, there is still always enough to go around if you want to truly share.
Remember that sharing is an act of kindness and humility. It is not an act of control or expectations. Practice this and your world will be a happier place because the joy of sharing is deep and long lasting.