We've had a dilemma in our house this week. We received a gift that, for various reasons, we can't possibly use. Dirk believes that we should hold on to the gift, because if we give it away we dishonour the giver and their kindness. I see his point of view. I really do. I believe that we should share it. I know someone who would not only love it, but get an enormous thrill out of receiving this gift.
On the surface this is a question of competing values: respect versus sharing, not that they can't coexist, but they have sort of slipped into an uneasy stand off.
I know it seems as though I'm overplaying this but let's put my earnest-ness to make a 'good' - not necessarily right - decision, I have blown the whole thing out of proportion. Why? Because this little issue, it transpires, is a microcosym of one of my life challenges: be true to myself or please someone important to me.
I've wrestled with this dilemma since childhood, and my pattern is nearly always to please others. That's why, in my forties, such a small incident can become such a big deal for me. This morning, I finally decided that sharing the gift was the right thing to do... sorry, the better thing to do, there is no right and wrong, just the intention with which we do something. Almost as soon as I had, I happened to read the following...
"Each step you take is a clear message of intention.
Are you shrinking back, hiding away?
Or are you frozen in fear, unsure of what to do next, or where to turn?
Or do you have the courage and conviction to risk it all for what is true to you, and follow your heart’s wisdom?" (Tracy Holloway)
I've been through all three steps these last few days but it was worth it, because, having reflected on it in this post, I know myself a little better and next time I may be able to skip a step or two.