Why We don’t Share

I don’t think you like to share.

That’s a bold statement, I know. Allow me to unpack this realization that crushed me and built me almost simultaneously.

Everyone knows “sharing is caring.” Every kindergartener faces their first traumatic moment when someone takes the toy they just weren’t done with yet. Crying ensues and the patient young teacher bends down picks up the toy and begins to explain the moral law of sharing (well I don’t know if it’s a moral law but it seems like an important moment). From that point on, we grow and our core values grow simultaneously. Time and time again we are told to share; share ideas, information, things, And I think in theory, everyone believes it to an extent.

But honestly, I think a lot of us are still that small kindergartener.

Because if we were honest, we would admit we don’t want someone to do better than us with what we know.

If we were honest, we would realize that there is a part of us that yearns for the spotlight, longs for recognition. Anyone who dares to enter the light with us could take that warm glow away.

If we were really honest, our tendency not to share stems from low self-value. Because in our minds, we are replaceable. We actually believe that if someone shines too close to us, no one will see the value we have and all those deeply rooted fears would come true.

I haven’t always been great at sharing, especially when it comes to my friends. A few years ago I connected with one of my really good friends Gianna at a summer mission trip called Belle Glade Student Week. We both led a group of high schoolers and fell in love with Jesus together. Soon, we met Oriolyne, a spunky, funny, goofy and altogether hilarious friend. We started hanging out together…a lot. Eventually, as most groups of three often do, our schedules began to change and we hung out separately. Thats when the fear of being left out or completely replaced slowly grew in my heart. That feeling quickly turned to jealousy and soon I, as a fully grown 23 year old woman with a job, began to become jealous of the two friends I loved the most. The one who took the brunt of it was Oriolyne. The fact that she was the newest in the group rationalized and justified my behavior. This is somewhat embarrassing to admit because I generally don’t like to expose the raw and ugly sides of me. But it was the truth. I would say and dot little nuanced things to secure my spot. I didn’t like to share.

At girl’s night. I’m in the blue chambray top. Oriolyne is in the red sweater up top. Gianna is in the black sweater next to me.

One day, Oriolyne and I sat in my car after a night of hanging out together. We had grown so much closer in such a short amount of time and that fear of being replaced was replaced by guilt for acting so childishly. So, in a moment of vulnerability I admitted, “You know, I never expected us to be real friends. I always thought you and Gianna would go off, be BFF 4L and leave me behind.” I felt the weight of my confession fill the silent space between us ready to be chastised and deservingly so.

“It’s ok. You know…I felt the same. Except I thought it would be you and Gianna,” Oriolyne admitted.

I sat in the driver’s seat stunned. This whole time, I had wasted time protecting a spot in the lives of my friends that they had already given me I didn’t even notice how my actions made her feel. That day, I experienced the healing balm of grace and reintroduced myself to my future best friend.

There are of course moments where I have been on the victim’s side of not sharing whether it be singing tips, information, or even as small as the app someone used to decorate their Instagram story. But I share this story because although I have been a victim, I have been the perpetrator more often than I hope to admit.

And so being on both sides of the coin, if there is anything I could write today to encourage you, dear reader, it would be to begin to share. Share your ideas, tips, tricks, losses, wins, your favorite pumpkin bread recipe, the app you’re using to start your business. Because sharing will not rob you of your success; holding back costs more.

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