This post is about how much we contribute to each other even though we may not realise we do. With our presence we can inspire people, lift their moods, reassure them, or provide the opportunity for them to laugh, cry or just be. Sometimes only a few words or a smile are enough. Even silence can suffice to contribute and make a difference to people’s lives. And yet we may never fully appreciate the effect we have.
A contribution can occur without effort or realisation and yet be of such significance: a word of encouragement delivered just as a colleague is about to give up; a straightforward compliment (I know someone who does this regularly with people she doesn’t even know and it’s always touching to observe), or a text message sent when it is needed most.
To contribute to someone else’s life is a privilege. During my training it was also a necessity. We were told how important it is to make a contribution to the group or to an individual. One journal entry states:
Every time I relate to someone I need to ask myself, ‘What am I contributing to this person?’
In another I refer to one of the many conversations I had with my teacher about the importance of seeing (and owning) the contributions we make:
Karaj phoned and we chatted about my essential need to appreciate the contribution I make to others. It is the height of (inverted) arrogance to believe that I don’t make a contribution to the lives of other people.
Knowing that we contribute to people and appreciating the ways in which others contribute to us enriches our experience of our world and the people in it. Spend a week observing the contribution you make to people’s lives. Be aware of how people contribute to you. And from time to time let them know the difference they have made to your life.