Several times in recent months, someone has expressed to me hesitation to participate in a get together because, as they said, they felt that they had nothing of value to offer that particular day. Maybe because they were worried about something, or distracted, or just in a slump. They really wanted to come, but they thought that they should not come because they believed they had nothing to give.
Wow, I thought, that is a lot of pressure to put on ourselves. First of all, that is a big assumption about not having anything of value to offer. Our very presence can be a gift that we are not even aware of giving.
But beyond that, I was struck by the idea that it’s not okay to just receive. Maybe on a particular day I need support, I need caring, I need to be held in the energy of acceptance just the way I am. Can I give myself permission to receive what I need without the pressure to generate a profound thought, or a wise suggestion, or a funny observation?
Balance sheets work with money, but not always with life. How we assess life value is often arbitrary and subjective, reflecting much more about self-judgment than about some objective measurement. We often measure our value by some outward manifestation of giving, seeing everything else as being in the red debit column. We misunderstand or overlook the value of being fully who we are.
When we show up as we are, maybe one day we are full of energy and wisdom, and maybe another day we are tired and dense. On the days when, in our own estimation, we have nothing to offer, if we can give ourselves permission to receive caring from others, we offer to others a model of self-awareness and self-acceptance. We teach others how to receive caring and support and understanding.
Our greatest value is not in always being “on” or in always giving something to others. Our greatest value is in being fully who we are, without pretense, without judgment. When we let others see us as we are, we give them permission to be who they are.
And on the balance sheet of life, that is priceless.
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. ~Maya Angelou