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The Gift of Recognition

The Gift of Recognition

When we think of giving, we turn our thoughts to money, gifts, and perhaps the act of service. Donating to worthwhile causes and offering the gift of our time and talents are important contributions. 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. Whole philosophies have been written about what it means to be human. Perhaps a fundamental element of our humanness involves our ability to recognize our humanity within ourselves and others. I had a poignant experience when a friend called and said, “I just wanted to tell you that I see who you are.” The gift of recognition – I was moved beyond words. I wonder if she realized her willingness to look to the unique expression of another person’s humanity was an ultimate act of giving—of philanthropy. Imagine bringing that gift of recognition to all our interactions – with our family, friends, community, commercial and professional engagements. How to Bring the Gift of Recognition The Jewish Philosopher Martin Buber purported that our relationship with others’ lives in the space between us. How we care for that space between us will impact the quality of our relationships. When that space is cluttered and distorted with judgments and assumptions, we lose our ability to move freely across the space to experience fully the true essence of another. Keeping the Space Between Us Clear 1. Be present. When you are with another—whether it is offering...