When I first arrived in the UK as a Masters student, the first couple of weeks were not only trying but even made me want to catch the next flight back home. It was a new place with a different social fabric and lifestyle. But as I slowly settled down and started making friends, it became my home far away from home. On my way to university when a stranger walking down the road smiled and wished me good morning and told me to wrap myself in more woolens to beat the biting cold or when a classmate offered me a lift in his car while going home on a snowy afternoon, I realized that sharing is not limited to just offering lunch in school to my besties or helping people I know. A few years later, when I started working, and my office mates brought me homemade delicacies prepared with love and affection, or my boss shared my anxieties and helped me settle down in my new job, I realized that sharing is not just limited to what we give others in terms of material things but it is also an attitude like being generous and loving. At the end of the day, we share our emotions and feelings with each other as our little gestures in life go a long way in showing that we really care.
As kids when our parents teach us the importance of sharing our toys with friends or looking after our younger siblings, we not only learn to share our things with others but also how to take care of each other. And when we offer to share our homes with friends who relocate from other cities or elderly relatives who have no one to take care of them, it is our way of showing our love and support as the seeds of sharing and caring that had been sown in us, have now grown and manifest themselves in our behavior.
When we teach children the value of sharing and caring for others they feel the joy of seeing and experiencing another person’s happiness. As these behaviors bring joy and content they are positively reinforced up to the point it will become a habit. This habit is one of the best presents we can give our children as it is one of the key ingredients for a happy, calm, and content life.
In 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships on how sharing good news impacts our lives. The study was a collaborative project by various universities and laboratories in the USA, including the University of California, the University of Kentucky, and Brigham Young University. The researchers concluded that sharing the good news with others brings about positive emotions on a larger scale than merely recounting or putting it down on a piece of paper, makes it easier to recollect, and opens the window to newer and positive implications from the perspectives of others. It makes us more joyful as we see our happiness reflected in the faces of the people we share our news with.
We forge relationships as we share our special moments, ideas, feelings, affections, emotions, opinions, thoughts, well-being, and happiness with those around us. We do not learn the price of things but learn to value them. For instance, when we organize a community kitchen or donate to food banks instead of wasting the excess food in our homes, we share our hearts with everyone. And our children learn to attach less significance to words such as “me” and “mine” and think of sharing and caring for others’ feelings and well-being. This, in turn, gets reflected in their behavior and future behavior.
Imagine living in a world where we only cared for ourselves. Not only would the world lose all its color but we ourselves would become characters painted in only shades of black, white, and gray. When we see someone frantically digging in their purse looking for change to pay her bill at the grocery store and fish out some money from our pocket or offer to share our umbrella with someone getting soaked on a wet afternoon, it shows that we share the person’s feelings of desperation and frustration for holding up the queue or anxiety at getting wet. Even the simple things that make life beautiful count. I think you would agree with me when I say that a compliment from a friend or colleague or a passerby flashing a warm smile does make your day brighter.
As we share and care more for each other and lead by example, the more beautiful the world around us becomes….
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
― Mother Teresa