Friday, March 27, 2015

Worth Winning

It’s been said that a thing is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. This concept is important to remember in our relationships.

We often make sacrifices and give gifts of ourselves to the people we care about. We give them our precious first few moments after we walk in the door from a hard day at work. We cuddle and hug when we really don’t feel like being touched. We give them the last word even when we know we’re right. We give them freedom to make decisions that might hurt us.

As we do, it's important to keep in mind the exchange rate of worth. What a sacrifice costs us isn’t necessarily what it’s worth to the other person.

Using the first example, I have always been a huge proponent of silence and solitude when I come home from work. I live alone now, but my first roommate always greeted me at the door. As I walked in, I was usually thinking, “If I see one more person, I’m going to a bell tower with a rifle.” On the other hand, he was thinking, “I haven’t seen my roommate all day, I’ll see how he’s doing.”  The ensuing conversation, which could last anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, was just a daily check-in to my roommate. It was something slightly more costly to me.

We also have to remember that the opposite is true. What something is worth to us is not necessarily what it cost the person who gave it to us. What we consider trivial or “the least they could do” might be a major sacrifice on the part of the other person.

Author, Catherine Wallace says that exchange within relationships must be thought of in terms of reciprocity not equality. It’s a reciprocal trading of my ability to meet your needs for your ability to meet my needs. The abilities and the needs don't have to be the same or equal. And, most of the time, they won't be.

Loving others means that I recognize and value their individuality and uniqueness the same way I recognize and value those things within myself and expect them to. It means that I may have to meet some needs in them that I don’t have or even understand. It also means that when I put a price tag on a gift they give me, I have to take into account what it cost them.


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