Life: Play With Others.
A line I recently wrote sent me on a thinking spree. What exactly is sharing and how do people share?
Growing up, I was the kid with toys, toys attracted other kids and soon enough I was the kid around other kids sharing his toys. It wasn’t until recently, think two years ago, that I became aware of how this phase in my upbringing shaped my thinking and perception of sharing.
As a kid I was happy to share my toy barring that the other kid took care of my toy the same I took care of my toy. Giving my toy to another kid only for the kid to break my toy would not make me giggle, neither would it make me want to share with that kid again.
I carried this — take care of what I share with you at least the same way I’d take care of it, else I’d take it from you and go share with someone else or keep it to myself — I brought this thinking into my early twenties. I could explain what was happening in my thought process but could not put it into perspective as I just outlined above. I could only do that, as I shared with you, about two years ago. Before then, I simply withdrew because it was my normal response not knowing the reason behind that form of response. Though I’d expect similar response from others, I wont be surprised if there were kids who did giggle when others broke their toys or kids who didn’t mind when others mistreated their belonging, well I did. And, apparently, still do.
In my early twenties, this became evident in my relationships. I love myself, truly and give of me freely. When I entered into relationships at that young age and whomever I was dating treats me poorly, I pulled back and went else where. Consciously, at that time, I knew my reason for leaving was she treated me worse that I treat myself and that is the opposite of what I seek, opposite of what I want.
Gradually, I began accepting the blurry realization that there were more people who would treat you worse than you treat yourself than there were people who would treat you the same way as you treat yourself. Those who would treat you better than you treat yourself seemed non existent, if you were not “down in the gutter”. Hence, I pulled back, ended relationships once a pattern of poor treatment was established.
Books talk about love and individual’s language, magazines talk about sex positions and leg shaking Os. Movies talk about unreciprocated tension and affection. Until now, I didn’t even know to think of sharing. I did think of tolerance about a year ago — how tolerable you are and how much can you tolerate, both answers would determine the longevity of a relationship. Here now, we are learning together that while tolerance equal longevity, sharing equal satisfaction. Won’t you want a satisfactory longevity? I would.
How then do you explain sharing? And how do you explain your style of sharing with whom you’re with? It’s easy to say love me right. It’s poetic to say love me tonight. It’s eclectic to say love me sacrificially. But in an easy language to understand, how do you discover your style of sharing and how do you communicate that style of sharing with your partner? I don’t know but let’s use my ways as an example.
We’ve uncovered I would take back my toy if mistreated, that’s response (taking back toy) after action (maltreatment of someone else’s toy). How do I extend expectations before engagement? As a kid, I didn’t. I simply share happily then continue to play or take my item back. As a grown man, I know communication is key yet I also do not overly ascribe to stapling commandments onto everything I share. I still believe, after all these years, I still believe certain things are common sense and if proper care isn’t sense to someone else then we have nothing in common. Apparently, somehow someway the kid in me knew a genius method to qualify friends and people I got close to. That also meant a lot of “play by yourself”, “play with your loved ones” days and a few “play with friends who have their own toys”.
How do you discover your style of sharing? I believe this is evident in everything we do however it is important to understand what we mean by “sharing”. In this context, sharing does not mean the same as giving, that is, for example when you share your money, item or belonging with someone else with no expectation of receiving it back, for simplicity we would understand the above to mean giving. While sharing would mean extending your money, item or belonging to someone with expectation to take it back, preferably in the same condition (for example someone drives your car to the supermarket or to pick up their kid from daycare) as you gave them.
Now, what are your expectations with the things you share? Are you only concerned with the important items? are you concerned about everything that’s yours? I would classify the styles of sharing into three: Completely Particular. Understanding. And, Agreeable.
Completely Particular — my Mom would say a person who lends you an outfit tells you how to sit (so as to not stain or damage the outfit). As a kid, I understood this to mean be take care of what others give you and also maybe not take from another if you don’t want them instructing you in front of everyone how to move around in what they “lent” you.
Completely particular people are inseparable from what belongs to them. Before explaining this, I thought I was completely particular, in the sense that I am certain in how I expect my items to be treated but that’s different from what CP really means. CP refers to those who call you every 20minutes to check up on how you’re fairing at their house. Think, completely inseparable. Like a mother and her child.
Understanding — my favorite response to someone else’s explanation is “I understand”. It gives me time to understand what it is I understand, that is what is it they’re really saying, what are they conveying to me while at the same time assuring the person their thoughts are appreciated and received. Understanding in terms of sharing would mean me, actually. A person who would give you free rein with what’s theirs and is understanding of how you treat what you’ve been given. Understanding does not mean lack of care, it also doesn’t mean a blank check. It simply means, here, show me who you are. And whomever you show me to be, I understand. If it’s someone I can relate to, that is, treats my things the way I expect it to be treated then we continue but if that’s not the case then, I understand you are who you are. I remember a few years back when I bought a particularly nice car, the day I showed my friends they were elated, naturally, I tossed the car key to a friend to go for a spin — I did not think it obvious to add “treat my car with utmost care, I’ve only recently bought it’’, that to me would be unnecessary and having to explain that would mean I chose the wrong person to be my friend. While an Understanding person can take such risk, give the key to a friend to drive around on their own, a Completely Particular person would say “clean your shoes, get in, let’s go for a ride — while I drive”.
Agreeable — this would be someone who is more careless about what they give. Think a person who should have ended their relationship to someone who treats them badly, but for some reason the agreeable person finds new reasons to remain careless of the treatment of their heart and feelings. I would think people who fit this category tend to find a higher justification and reason to hold on to that simplifies the misuse of property and make the harm seem small. “This person just damaged their property, well it’s ok, I mean it’s not ok but you know, they just recently came off the streets, they’re adjusting to having new accomodation”. Here, a higher sense of benevolence seem to make them overlook the poor treatment of their belonging. There is surely a place for patience, there’s also a place for never again.
While we have formed three types of sharers, it’s well to remember there are those who do not share. All they have is all for them.
How do you communicate that style of sharing with your partner? I’ve lived most of life from the “show me who you are” perspective and for the most part I still do. I have however only recently begun to inform new people who are in close relationships with me of my sharing style. Here’s my affection, while you have it, treat it with utmost care, that is, if you want it to remain. If you treat it poorly, it would naturally rescind. With or without my conscious effort.
Sounds like a fine print on a drawn out contract, keep in mind, I’ve only begun making these adjustments and verbalizing what I keep internal. Over time, I will find more subtle and less fine-printy way of expressing my sharing style. The way to continuously have that which is shared is to love that which has been shared with continuous care and intent. If you keep loving with care and intent, you’d keep having it to love. I remember a knowledge I picked up, August 2015, from “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” — I learned this: A man who loves his wife does not do anything unloving or unkind in word, manner or action. Love is what love does. It took me 7years to arrive at the same ideology.
It is important during the getting to know you stage that you find a way to express your sharing style with your partner especially if you’re in the more critical styles of “Understanding” and “Completely Particular” preferably before the start of sharing and especially at the beginning of sharing.
I’ve known girls who would tell me they would not share me with another girl. To be fair, I’ve also known girls who told me they would share me — but while both refer to intimacy preferences, nothing is said of day to day, out the bedroom, sharing. As you probably already know, activities outside the bedroom inspires or drains desire in the bedroom. If we know our love languages, we know how we approach sharing our lives, our things, our heart and feelings, it becomes easier to share our fantasies and intimate desires. I remember a girl I used to know to whom sharing (outside the bedroom) was like giving away her lungs or some important organ, clearly it didn’t work between us.
I’ve not been one to set boundaries because I think it goes against common sense and insults the intelligence of the other person. I am now accepting that setting expectations does give the other person the heads up to apply their common sense and intelligence to certain matters, because while they cannot read my mind, I am intently watching how they would behave in those situations where I share with them. Same thing applies to me when others share with me. I believe Boundaries to be “here I draw the line”. Expectations is more “food for thought, think advise”.
The Bible says it’s better to give, and I agree. There is no requirement for helping another person. When it comes to sharing, sharing your life with another, sharing your wealth with another, sharing your love with another, your peace of mind, your kids, your parents, sharing your future dreams with another, while I don’t care for boundaries and ultimatums, I now fully agree expectations are very necessary.
How tolerable are you? How much can you tolerate? And more importantly, how do you treat what others share with you and do you share?
Go make great relationships. Your answers are in your hands.