Thanks for (not) sharing

girlsPeople are like coffee or chocolate. There is no bad or good, but of different flavour and aroma that attracts different tongues and noses. It takes a bit of time to taste and appreciate the full variety and uniqueness at the same time and choose the ONE.

Since very early childhood we are taught to share. Our toys, our sweets, our good intentions. Later on our favourite clothes, opinions, our sins, our hidden thoughts etc. “Sharing is caring” mum, said Emma to me the other day, “our teacher told us”. “Yes, darling, actually it depends,” I wanted to reply, but did not. I thought how manipulative the whole concept of sharing might be. I thought about times I played an active part in the manipulation process. Encouraging one kid to give up on the toy for the sake of peace. To share their yummy stuff though their sibling almost choked on theirs yummy stuff without sharing few days before. Encouraging people to tell me and they probably really did not feel like talking and telling anybody anything. Being disappointed when my mum did not want to lend me her favourite clothes. (I accused her silently of being selfish.) How easy it might seem to tell your child digging a hole in a sandpit to lend their friend a spade? How easy it would be to lend an expensive camera you bought recently to a friend departing for an exotic trip?

Not to share with others is supposed to be not a nice way of treating people. Some might perceive it as an act of rejection. Unfortunatelly, we are not taught at the very early stage that saying NO to our demands or wishes is not necessarily connected with rejection of ourselves as a person. The other party is simply using the right not to act on demand. Yes, we have the right to refuse something we do not feel like doing at the moment. Or never.

Sharing constitutes also an essential part of the socializing. We meet and we share what happened in our lives, to our relatives or friends. Fair enough, we are aware that most of the time we talk about others. The thing is what is the extent, the scope of healthy sharing and listening to the shared content? Would our friends be happy to know that we passed on something they confided to us? Is it ok to share somebody’s private life? Do we really want to listen to details about somebody’ s sexual adventures in their couple or elsewhere? How do we actually feel about the shared stories? Maybe we are fine and we do not easily fall in the trap of making judgements. Maybe we do not feel comfortable. Maybe we are eager to listen to or talk about disasters that happen to others. (We can tell ourselves “see, there are worst things happening out there”). Maybe, sadistically we are comparing ourselves to the achievements presented by others. Maybe we feed on the shared because we have nothing genuine or pleasant to share ourselves. Whatever story is shared it represents the view of the person that shares. I believe that all dubious, negative or belittling comments or even thoughts implied in shared story poison the ultimate opportunity to take the other person as they are. Complex and worth to be discovered.

People are like coffee or chocolate. There is no bad or good, but of different flavour and aroma that attracts different tongues and noses. It takes a bit of time to taste and appreciate the full variety and uniqueness at the same time. It takes a bit of time to choose the one we love. We would get back to the shop for it. We would go out of the shop with the prospect of a nice evening  with a treat of our choice. We would be indifferent to the kind of coffee and chocolate our neighbour chooses.

It seems to me that the phrase “sharing is caring” could rather be transformed into “sharing or not sharing with caring”. To opt for not sharing might be a healthy thing to do. Either way we could maintain sensibility and empathy. We could be more careful about what we share with or about other people. We have the right not to accept listening to people taking hidden pleasure in sharing embarrassing stories of others. Last but not least we can stop very early those who disclose to us details that might hurt us or might hurt somebody else. Let’s be ok with saying “thanks for not sharing”. I will be good without the information. Actually, I will be much better.

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