It’s easy to forget to share. Not that we’re selfish people, but life gets so hectic and it can seem awkward or unnatural to reach out to another and share. This is a shame, because sharing is one of the methods of forging bonds with other people and keeping us feeling connected to our families, communities and humanity as a whole.
By taking as many opportunities to share as you can, you’ll uplift your own spirit and bring joy to those around you. Like I said, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day business of life that we miss these opportunities to share, so here are seven steps to make sharing a habit.
1. Make a point of finding one thing a day to share; anything from simple things to offering a piece of gum to the guy sitting next to you on the train, to offering to let a family member borrow your truck for moving. The more you practice sharing, the more it becomes a natural reflex.
2. Don’t forget that sharing isn’t just about material things, it’s also about sharing thoughts and feelings. Take time each day to sit and talk with your friends and loved ones and share what’s going on in your life and allow them to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
3. Speak up when you have information to share. Don’t let your shyness get in the way of helping others out. Keep in mind that factual information, such as information about a sale or a blocked road will be more welcomed than unsolicited personal opinions.
4. Accept graciously when others offer to share with you. Generosity is a two way street and we are enriched both when we learn to give and when we learn to receive. Let go of your ego and suspicion and allow others the opportunity to share. Of course, pay attention to your instincts to avoid dangerous situations such as taking a ride with a stranger and set firm boundaries when dealing with those who have harmed you in the past.
5. Embrace the good feelings you get after you’ve shared with somebody. These feelings don’t mean that you’ve given selfishly; they are a sign that you are doing something good for your spirit. Sharing is good for individuals, good for families and good for communities, so why wouldn’t we get warn, happy feelings from doing it?
6. As you become more comfortable with sharing, look for ways to share that you might not have considered before. Perhaps you could invite a friend over to your home for a meal or volunteer at a senior citizens center. Or you could continue to increase your intimacy with close loved ones by sharing more of your thoughts and dreams. The more you share, the easier it becomes and it starts to feel more natural and less like an intrusion or invasion.
7. Don’t worry too much about reciprocation or keeping score. Do make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of and that you have healthy boundaries, but in general, you’ll be happier if you take the attitude that it will all come out even in the wash. The more you make sharing a habit, the more you’ll be rewarded with richer, closer relationships and a feeling of being connected to society, not isolated from it.
Sharing is incredibly important because it is what allows us to function in societies and establish ties of kinship and friendship. Sharing freely and accepting graciously are important to our emotional and spiritual well being, so it’s well worth it to make a conscious effort to make sharing a habit.
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Tracy O’Connor blogs about ghostwriting