“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
It occurred to me when rereading a January post “giving yourself away” < http://brucemctague.com/giving-yourself-away > that I had, with the best of intentions, shared a selfish perspective on giving yourself away. And that there is an unselfish perspective.
There is unselfish giving yourself away. These are the people who simply help people, giving pieces of themselves away, because … well … that is what they do and who they are.
These people, the few, have a gift.
I know of one for sure … probably a couple.
The gift is that they always seek to give a piece of themselves away if they see someone in pain, burdened by something, or just see a person needing to know that there is someone in the world who cares.
They do this regardless of the other person being friend or foe … known or unknown. They simply seek to … well … metaphorically … give a piece of themselves away to insure the other person has something good to hold on to when things look or feel bad.
What this means is … without trying to be the world to one person … they often end up being just that.
This is a gift.
It is a gift in that these people have an unending capacity to give themselves away.
I think in biology it is called regeneration. The body’s ability to give a piece away and have it regrow on the body. That is a gift these people have.
It is a gift because they never get exhausted giving themselves away piece by piece. It is a gift because they never lose enough of themselves to not have more pieces to give away.
“You will leave a little piece of yourself with everyone you imagine,” he said.
“You will get exhausted trying to give yourself away.”
Giving yourself away and never getting exhausted.
I think I will call this unselfish capacity.
It can be called unselfish because of something called “needs.”
We all have needs.
Needs, in the harshest light, pretty much stand in the spotlight of selfishness.
And, yet, the people with the gift I am speaking of seem to have such a huge unselfish capacity that their own needs seemed to get squeezed out of the selfish spotlight and are willing to stand to the side in the shadows.
That is a gift these people have.
There is another aspect of the unselfish capacity.
I will call it the ‘saving someone’ aspect.
My perspective on this one is mainly a business perspective.
When I managed groups and departments of people I loved picking up other managers ‘discards.’ The staff that they had given up on as too flawed or unmanageable. At that time, in my mind, no one wasn’t manageable. I believed as a manager I could ‘save anyone & everyone.’
But when I began managing companies and larger organizations I found I didn’t have the capacity to ‘save everyone.’ I became a harsher judge and jury with regard to staff.
I mention this because not too long ago I told a co-worker who was evaluating a potential hire, with some glaringly obvious cultural fit challenges, that ‘you can’t save everyone.’
He looked at me and said “I know … but why not try?”
The only answer I could give is that ‘if you give too much of yourself away in doing so you end up exhausted … or a shell of your former self having given too much of yourself away.’
I forgot that I am not everyone.
I had forgotten there are people with a gift … an unselfish capacity of which I do not have.
These people not only believe they can ‘save everyone’ but have the capacity to actually try to do so. That, my friends, is a gift.
The ‘giving yourself away unselfishly’ people.
The world needs these people.
We needed them in the past. We need them in the present. We will need them in the future.
Instead of apologizing I offer this post and the words you just read.
Giving yourself away is tricky.
And not everyone has the same capacity, or gift, to do it … and do it sincerely with no emotional baggage attached to the giving.
Appreciate the few who can.