These days so many help each other out. They are not expecting anything in return, just glad to help. We see this all over the planet. Happy people are helping out with food deliveries, checking in on the elder, and helpfulness in general. I love it—human nature in the best way.
One thing I have come to understand over the years is that helping is an exchange of energy. It is not just a one-sided thing, but a trade. Sometimes a money exchange, sometimes a word exchange, sometimes time exchange. An exchange none the less.
My daughter goes for walks with a dog because she is helping out an older woman. The woman could go for walks with the dog on her own, really, but my daughter loves getting out walking this dog. The dog loves her too. It is an exchange of energy, the woman gets to relax and not walk the dog as much, and my daughter gets to be with a dog she loves. It is an exchange of energy.
A friend of mine has a son who helps out with the neighbor, an older man who is worn down, so the son helps out with the lawn and taking out the trash and these kinds of things. Now and then, the neighbor slips him a coin for his troubles. The neighbor is not that paying a wage, but because helping is an exchange of energy.
Thank you is enough – sometimes
Sometimes thank you is enough. Just saying thank you because it is words of energy put into the exchange. Other times it might be a coin here and there, or it might be the energy of experiences (relaxing vs. playing with the dog). Like my daughter’s walk with the dog.
I have seen children who have helped grocery shopping for the elder, and they were not given money, but a huge thank you because the elder had no money to give. When asked about why they would do it, one of the boys replied that he loved they could talk like he was worth something. So, what the boy got were attention and friendship. It was the happiness in knowing he made a difference, and someone wanted to talk to him.
This exchange can go so very wrong when one side of the trade doesn’t understand the rules of the matter. Giving and taking has to be a balance; otherwise, it will not work at all. This does not mean it has to be equal every time you talk at all but in the bigger picture.
Most of us have had friends who just talked about themselves and never really wanted to listen to what you had to say. These are the people who do not understand that friendship is a balance of giving and take. Sometimes we go through a rough patch, and that is ok, because, in the balance of things, that friend is there when you have a rough patch too.
Once this balance of support is broken, it can be tough to get back. Some friendships never have this balance because the learning process in one person can be empathy, and therefore this person cannot see they are too focused on themselves. They need to learn how to see the other person and the other person’s needs need to be in focus on friendship.
I often see people who don’t understand this balance of giving and take. It is essential to talk about it and not refuse what the other is offering because it might be what they have to offer right now, and it has to be an exchange.
You could practice feeling in what you could give and what you need from friendships, interactions, and encounters.
When you look at your relationships or meetings with others, do you see the exchange?