In reading Brene Brown's book 'The Gifts of Imperfection' she talks about the need to connect with others. I like her definition of connection - "the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
I have been involved with several 'helping' organizations, and I believe one thing many of us are guilty of - myself included - is failing to see how judgmental we can be when trying to help others. In fact, most of us would outright deny it. But if we are deriving any sense of self-worth from giving help - while at the same time believing that we ourselves don't need any (or don't need it from "those people") - that is exactly what it is. On p. 20 Brene writes...
Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.
Yeah... that's an eye-opener. It makes me think of the saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." And I admit to having a hard time lately with certain people of faith who insinuate, or outright believe, they have something that others need - but at the same time they believe those 'others' have nothing to offer them. Yes, I believe a relationship with God is a life-changing reality of extreme importance, yet I always need to understand that I am nothing more than one beggar telling another beggar where I found bread. And I'm always going to need more myself.
So, just a little somethin' I was thinking about today:
- Do I consider myself better off than others?
- Am I as open to receiving help as I am willing to offer it?
- When is the last time I actually asked a trusted friend to help me?
- Do I really 'see, hear, and value' those around me (in other words, connect)?