Why is Sharing Caring?
We’re all familiar with the phrase “sharing is caring”, right? Aside from the pleasant lilting rhyme which comes from this saying, however, what good really comes from sharing and why are acts of generosity seen as caring? A lot, according to what I found out. Many people feel happy when they share something of theirs with someone else. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone else is getting enjoyment or benefit from something as a direct result of your own actions. Because sharing works both ways; the sharer is happy because they can see someone benefitting from their ‘caring’ action and the beneficiary is happy because someone has shown them an act of kindness.
Firstly, “Sharing is Caring” has been trademarked since The Salvation Army since 1950. Unlike many people who glance at Google and don’t read further than headings, I dug a little deeper and discovered this was not the words but their counselling and emotional support services. The Salvation Army named their advice-giving, supportive and fundamentally caring service rather aptly, in my opinion. They understood that sharing goes beyond physical objects and includes the sharing of emotions, thoughts, desires and fears. Humans are naturally social and be providing a safe space in which those in need can do so, we are caring for these basic human instincts.
Some cultures are particularly ‘sharey’. Cambodia, for example, is filled with incredibly generous people. Friends of mine who don’t have much are more than happy to share with me the little they do have. They expect to share. They share everything all their lives. Families live together for far longer than traditional western societies would expect with adult married couples often living with their parents so everyone can share the burden of living costs and caring for elderly relatives. That’s another thing they do here; whether or not it’s as a direct result of not having care homes nor the money to pay for help, children and grandchildren diligently care for their elderly relatives without a fuss. Why do they share their entire lives, wages, free time with each other? Because they care, of course.
Children learn to share from a young age. This tells us two things: firstly, that the human race places great store on the ability to share and secondly that sharing is not a natural thing for us to do. We’ve all met people who are possessive or fundamentally unhelpful when it comes to cooperating on a project and subconsciously think to ourselves “you didn’t learn to share as a kid”. And parents reading this will know the battles involved with getting their children to share their toys and play cooperatively with others. Of course, some youngsters are born with an innate desire to share but others really, really aren’t. So we teach them because society has decided that sharing is the right thing to do. As a side-note, if your child isn’t sharing much at a young age (up to 4 or 5), don’t worry. As their brains develop and they become capable of understanding that their friend may want to play with the toy too, they will recognise times when sharing is a nice thing to do. More to the point, they will care about the happiness of those around them and want to share when it makes someone else smile.
Aside from material wealth, your possessions and other physical items, we can also share our skills and time with those who could benefit. Sharing knowledge and capabilities is one of the ways in which humans as a species are able to survive and, in recent years, to thrive. If you have a particular talent or capability which could help a friend (from designing their new company website to a wonderful affinity with children so you can always calm a screaming baby to being handy with your toolbox and being capable of fixing that wonky shelf), use it. Too many of us with the capacity to help others choose not to. Far from this being a malicious, conscious choice, I think society has recently become far more ‘every man for himself’. While we are constantly communicating and sharing when it comes to social media, in many ways our modern world is quite isolating, creating an environment in which capitalism thrives.
So share this blog post on social media, the world’s most common way of “sharing” these days, and show you care. Maybe this will inspire someone to perform a little act of generosity. Maybe they’ll record that act in More Good Deeds’ App and raise $1 for their chosen charity. Maybe together we can make the world a more caring, sharing place.
Go, do, experience. More Good Deeds.