“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” – Elie Wiesel
I chose the WOM for November as Share in honor of Thanksgiving and what thoughts and emotions this season brings up in people. It’s a time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for and to give thanks. Being in that space is the perfect time to give some attention to how we can personally share in our lives. For ourselves and for others.
As a parent (or as children) the word “share” comes up a lot in our conversations because children tend to not excel at that practice. They need to be taught, and have the importance regularly drilled into them. But I’m sure you all know that the best way to teach something is to lead by example and it’s amazing how many small ways we can share in life that do not necessarily mean giving exactly ½ (or more) of our cookie to a friend (but that’s a great thing too because then you only eat ½ of it!).
Here’s what sharing means to me:
Smile at a Stranger. This can sometimes turn someone’s day completely around.
Share your attention. 6PM at night? Making dinner and trying to answer emails and work on my playlist at the same time. Where’s my focus on the kids? This is the time that I should be with them and giving them my attention and focus. Close the computer, turn off the music (or turn it up to something that they love), look at them, talk to them, ask them questions. Life is short. My time with them is finite so I want to appreciate it and be there with and for them. This also relates to spending time with others in my life. I’m sure you’ve all been there- either the one doing it or witnessing it- when you’re spending time with someone and they constantly are checking their phone, looking at texts. When I share my time with someone- I want to do it fully, be present, be there. Sharing our attention can bring about peace and comfort, relief from the intensity and introspection of oneself – dancing with friends or laughter with my sisters.
Share your experience. I’m a breast cancer survivor and one of the things that I needed the most when I was going through it was to talk to people that had been through it. There was this amazing community of women that I could tap into that allowed me to know I wasn’t alone and to give me hope, encouragement and support. I really needed it and it was there for me. And from that experience I learned the importance of being that same person for others moving forward. It’s hard sometimes because I am so busy, and sometimes want to protect my time so that I can get more done- but helping others is truly the most important work we can do.
Sharing is about informing and including. Phoning my mom, my loved ones – to let her and them know how I’m doing and what life is to me right now – she dearly wants to know and I dearly want to tell her. Sharing is about inclusion.
Sharing is about being fair and being treated with respect. Getting equal measure of those things is not about expecting it, but living life so that it comes to you.
Sharing is about giving a previous piece of what you have to somebody else, even when you (feel) you have almost nothing yourself. Some of the most generous acts of sharing, have come from those least in a position to do it. That takes selflessness and generosity.
Sharing is about delighting in another’s company and growth of oneself. Only by giving away do we get and what we end up with can far exceed our expectations – sharing is about opportunity and growth, and strength in numbers or a least, strength in company.
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” –Charlotte Brontë
Share this month- share your love, yourself, your smile.