I subscribe to a daily electronic newsletter from Beliefnet.com. It’s one of those things I do to fill my morning with positive thoughts and inspirtational ideas. I was reading an interesting article about motivation, and how not fulfilling personal needs can lead to depression and negative thoughts. Pretty much a no-brainer, and I casually copied the URL to the article and sent it to a friend via IM.
Why did I do that? Why did I feel compelled to pass that article along? Was it because my friend has issues with motivation? No. Was it because my friend is depressed and can use a little bit of a pick-me-up? Who isn’t? I’m not sure exactly why, but I felt compelled to forward that article just because I wanted to share it with someone else.
This got me to thinking about how we, as individuals, feel a need to share with others in just about everything we do. ‘Look at the pictures of my kids.’ ‘Here. Taste this. It’s incredible!’ ‘Want some of my popcorn?’ ‘Do me a favor. Read this e-mail and tell me what you think.’ It’s in almost everything we do. I am writing this entry knowing that I will post it to my blog and share it with the world. Ok, maybe not the entire world, but you know what I mean.
So why is sharing so important? Anyone who has kids will tell you that sharing is a learned behavior. Put two two-year-olds in a room and all you will hear is ‘Mine. Mine. Mine!’ Put a mommy in that same room and you will inevitably hear, ‘Now, boys, you need to learn to share.’ LEARN to share. Why do we do it? Why do we HAVE to share?
I’m no psychologist. In fact, I have not taken any type of science course since President Bush Senior, but I think if you apply basic common sense the answer is quite obvious. As children we are provided for. We are given everything we need. There is no incentive to share because we will get what we want, some kids more so than others, but you get my drift. As we start to grow up, both physically and emotionally, the burden of responsibility weighs heavier and heavier on our shoulders. The sense of providing for one’s self and valuing what you have sets in more and more. This translates to the realization that we will no longer be provided for, and thus the relationships we maintain become more out of desire and less out of necessity.
I believe we share because we feel compelled to make a connection with other people. To feel appreciated, recognized and loved. I ask people to look at pictures of my kids because I want them to know how special and beautiful I think my kids are are. I ask my friends to taste what I am having for dinner because I want them to share in the experience of really good food. I offer up snacks at the movies because I don’t want to be considered as selfish or rude. I ask for a second opinion on stuff I write because I want to make sure it makes sense and comes across correctly. I share to strenghten existing, or establish new, relationships.
And it is these relationships that get us through the hard times. They make the dark times less dark and the cold times just a bit warmer. Conversely, relationships make the highs higher and brights so much brighter. What would an Oscar acceptance speech be without all the thank you’s? I believe we all need people in our lives. People with whom we can share thoughts and experiences and emotions. Good or bad, right or wrong, we never want to feel alone. And although these relationships may change or disappear over time, the memories and the imprint of that relationship will always remain.
Don’t be afraid to share with others. Sharing is what allows us to define ourselves and be ourselves, and ultimately find happiness in our day to day.