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I See Who You Are

I See Who You Are

When we think of giving, we turn our thoughts to money, presents and perhaps even the gift of service.  Donating to worthwhile causes and offering the gift of our time and talents are important contributions.  How often do we consider the power of the gift of recognition – of seeing and acknowledging the unique essence and value of another person? Giving is associated with the notion of philanthropy.  When we look to the derivation of the word, we find that philanthropy refers to the love of humanity, the love of what it means to be human for both the benefactor and the beneficiary.  What it means to be human goes beyond the surface of what we look like, what we know, and what we possess.  Expressions of our humanity are who we are. I had a poignant experience when a friend called to tell me that she wanted me to know that she ‘could see who I am.’  In that instant, her gentle and firm declaration stopped all my mental chatter.  It took a moment to take it in.  That was probably one of the most profound gifts I have ever received!  I wonder if she realized that her willingness to look to the essence of another person’s humanity (in this case, me) was the ultimate act of giving – of philanthropy. Imagine the impact of this practice!  Your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients and community could take on a new level of expression. The Jewish Philosopher, Martin Buber, affirmed that our relationship with others lives in the space between us.  It is our responsibility to...