From a very early age, most of us are taught that sharing is the way to go – “Share your toysÂ like a good boy,Â Johnny!”Â And so the stage is set…. sharing is the right thing to do, the kind thing to do.Â We become judged on our ability to share or not.Â Whether it be material things such as toys, food andÂ experiences,Â or belief systems, goals, valuesÂ and opinions.
True, there are some things we are taught not to share, for instance germs, viruses, bad habits.
However, the culture of sharing everything that appears to be positive can have its downside.
If we believe that sharing is good and the “right” way to live, then how do we become autonomous without appearing selfish?Â Is living independently, exercising our right to follow our own path and validate our own information a negative?
And then there is the question of sharing energy.Â The culture of sharing creates permission for people to share your energetic space – boundaries become blurred and it becomes harder to discern your own energy space from other peoples’.
If I don’t allow someone’s energy in my space, does that mean I don’t care about them?
As a healer, I come across this phenomenon on a daily basis.Â Healers in particular are often expected to give of and share their energy in order to help those in need.Â After all, that is their calling, gift, responsibility – whatever you want to call it – right?
I have seen first-hand many a healer on my table, struggling under the weight of everyone’s energy they are carrying, wondering why they are feeling so completely drained and awful and guilty about why they can give no more.
In one of my first meditation classes, we were asked to participate in a game or exercise in which every student was given a balloon to blow up and to imagine filling it with the energy of love, admiration and need.Â Without tyingÂ them off, we held our balloons and then one student – the most obvious healer at that time – was chosen to receive all the balloons filled with love.Â That person felt special, needed, responsible.Â
One by one we would hand our balloons to the “chosen one’, until both his or her hands were filled and unable to handle any more.Â The chosen one was then instructed to hold on to all the balloons because they were all filled with love.Â Then the chosen one was asked to perform a simple task, for example get some water, drive their car, call a loved one.Â Of course this was impossible unless they let go of one or more of the balloons filled with love, admiration and need.
This can be a challenge for a healer.Â Learning how to take care of themselves before giving to someone else, or how to let go of other peoples’ energy, even in the form of love, in order to care for themselves.
If you have ever flown on an airplane and listened to the safety instructions prior to take off, adults traveling with children are instructed that, in case of emergency,Â they shouldÂ install their own oxygen masks before assisting those children.Â This ensuresÂ that they are able to stay conscious and actually assist the children.Â
Take care of yourself and you are in a better position to assist others.
If this means kicking someone out of your space and not having them share your energy, or draw upon your valuable energy resources, this is not selfish and is, in fact, the responsible course of action.
There is certainly a time and a place for “sharing is caring” – having compassion andÂ concern for your fellow human beings.Â However,Â it does not have to be a universal rule of thumb that can in fact be detrimental, debilitating. and eventually cause unwellness.
“Sharing is caring” whenÂ practiced with conscious awareness and discrimination.
Photo courtesy of flickr.