What’s in it for me?
Me-me-me. This approach is yesterday. I get nausea when I meet it.
Self-interest is not our only driver. Humans have a deeply held desire to contribute.
Are you in doubt?
- What’s more fun, to cook when you are home alone or when there are people to share your meal with?
- What do you enjoy most about gift-giving events, such as Christmas – giving or receiving presents?
- If you won the big lottery, how would you spend the money?
Many of us prefer to cook for a beloved person, see how they receive our presents, and invite someone into a shared adventure if there were abundances of money.
Speaking about doing something for others, my thoughts go to the Ukrainian soldiers and the millions of civilians who support them. ‘What’s in in for me’ becomes an absurd approach. I don’t know how to thank you, Ukrainians, for your courage and perseverance.
Survival comes sometimes first
There is despair present for many of us where contributing to the well-being of others comes on the other side of mere getting through the day. Even when not visible to the outer world, I know it’s there. And even then, I know it eases the inner misery when we do something for others – especially if they don’t know! (this was a tip I learned from my 12-step community).
I’m not in a battle field, my life is peaceful and safe. It gives me space to notice the pull to contribute, and I guess you know this as well.
Some will say: Isn’t this just about not allowing yourself to be in the center of your life? You deserve it! – or is this a trick the manufacturers of stuff is playing on us?
We might have unconscious contracts, such as not believing we deserve anything for ourselves, and setting the needs of others before our own. I know them by heart. My personal experience is that after having worked on dissolving such patterns and coming to terms with myself for 3-4 decades, there is now a welcome in me toward myself – I’ve come to a place where I actually like myself.
And still, I don’t spend all my resources on pleasure for myself. I feel a fierce pull toward making a difference in the world. Not for the sake of appreciation, but because it makes deep sense and makes my heart expand, and I like that!
Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication, emphasized the importance of contribution – he stated the need to make others’ lives more wonderful as one of our most basic needs.
At the recent Resonance Summit, Amanda Blaine asked in her presentation Resonance Without Words how we would like to spend one wish if we had a magical opportunity.
How would you spend one wish? (or three…)
Personally, my first thought was, I don’t need a magic wand. I am tremendously fortunate to find my life wonderful.(It wasn’t always like that, and THANK YOU to those who supported me to arrive here).
Then I thought of my offspring. Yes, I’d love to spend a wish or two there, easing their worry.
Some of my closest people could use a magic swing of the wand, too, to get relief from pain.
And, of course, it would be fun to have more visibility around Needs-Based Coaching. I LOVE the program and I KNOW its potential to transform lives. I don’t care about who gets the credit for it, as long as the program becomes known broadly and gets to do its alchemy with students and rippling further out in the world. It would bring me EASE to experience popularity and unknown people being attracted to it!
Did you find your wish?
In these times of higher speed than ever and more things to worry about on the global arena (did anybody think climate? Extinction? AI? Wars?), I would guess, as a community of newsletter readers, there would be a big category including REST, EASE, TIME, and RELIEF.
If you hold these as your wishes, I invite you to imagine that this is possible – just now. How would that feel? How would the cells in your body respond?
Who would you become? What would be something you’d enjoy to pursue? (I suggest you stay with it for at least 10 sec – and it will have an effect on your nervous system).
Another category might be SUCCESS. Gosh, we’re efforting so much, and hoping for positive feedback from the outer world. It can be a lonely ride, and we may doubt ourselves so deeply. Imagine what it would be like to have success, in whatever way you’d measure it… How would it affect how you look at yourself? Your relationships?
Your wishes might go in other directions – to know WHERE TO GO next. To get to accept and LOVE yourself. To find a PARTNER, a friend. To GET OUT of an unlivable situation. To have money to PROVIDE for your family.
In every case, I invite you to imagine that the air you inhale carries the fulfillment of what you wish for, and through your lungs, gets carried around in your body to gently inform every cell in there that something else is possible. Hardship is tough, I know.
You may be wishing for MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of others as your first wish. Whom would you love to touch? In what way? What would be the ripple effects? Imagine it does exist as a possibility.
It may be sorrowful if you know this is wishful dreaming. You may have been disappointed before. MY wish is to reach you in warm empathy and say, yes, sometimes it is so hard to see our beloved ones suffer.
Why would we imagine something that’s not there?
I believe the many current crises in this world calls for many different replies. Opening our own hearts to possibility is one of them, and holding each other in our hearts and minds with care is another. We get more of what we think of.
Let’s fully acknowledge the truth of our situation and nod our heads to the truths of those we are with. And then, let’s look in the direction of what we are longing for. It will bring it closer. As a very slow magic wand.