What I Have is Worth Sharing
By Z Zoccolante
As the counselor closed the group at our drug and alcohol rehab, we all went around the circle and said one thing we got out of the group.
“That what I have is worth sharing,” one of the guys said.
Damn, I thought.
I liked this group because it wasn’t about all the triggers to relapse or all the ways people had ruined their lives and relationships. This group was about strength. We all sat in a circle. Each person went around, stood in front of every chair, and said something that we liked about that person.
I noticed that we can be the most unkind to ourselves and that the strengths others see in us often are brushed off by us.
When you’ve been told you’re bad, or you feel you’re bad or a screw-up, it’s a strange experience to have someone a foot from you tell you the great things they see in you.
I hadn’t interacted with some of the clients, other than leading a group, so my first thought was, “How the heck am I going to say something about them when I don’t even know them?”
Then I stood and went around the circle, and I realized that you don’t need to know everything about someone to see parts of them. Little things give us away, like the guy who was anxious and agitated that he wasn’t put in this group because he was here last week and really wanted to continue with what they were talking about.
The counselor found a way to change someone and he was allowed in, but I liked his dedication. I could feel how he really wanted to be better, healthy, and how he wanted to learn as much as he could. I didn’t even know his name, but that’s what I told him.
I’d seen a few others in the group listening with kindness to their partner without interrupting them. I’d seen another younger guy who answered questions with, “I don’t know.” But I think he does know, a lot, and feel a lot, but he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing it yet.
There’s another guy who’s talked about often in staff meetings because he’s disruptive and usually gives the superficial jerk response when asked to share. But I remember he writes poetry and I have this feeling that he has two worlds happening like parallel lines. On the top is the superficial jerk, but the deeper one is someone that is scared of trusting people, even himself because if he puts out what he really wants he could fail, and he’s used to failing, used to people being disappointed, so why not give them what they want at first glance.
He nods as I share with him parts of these parallel lines I see. I can feel it’s true because I remember the same things in me.
I realized that we can know a lot about people when we watch them. I once asked a guy I was getting to know, “Tell me what’s on the walls of your room?” He’d never been asked that before.
We’re not as secret as we think. The way we carry ourselves when we think no one is watching. The small kindnesses we have for others. The simple things we might do, like pull in the neighbor’s trash cans, or smile to the delivery guy on the corner. The way we give people the benefit of the doubt, or how we protect near-strangers because somewhere in our life we weren’t protected.
No matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, we all have these stunning parts of ourselves.
This week let those stunning parts of yourself out, with yourself and other safe people.
What you have is worth sharing.
P.S. I’m busily working on a few projects right now. One is my book publication! The other is Season 2 of my eating disorder and addiction recovery podcast. More info on both coming soon. :)