Re-gifting the good that others have given us is an essential part of the cyclical nature of the life of a gift. It is also the sercet to feeding others as a leader. In his book The Gift, Lewis Hyde addresses this importance to our development and well-being when he explains the debt of gratitude we feel when we receive a transformative gift:
“I would like to speak of gratitude as a labor undertaken by the soul to effect the transformation after a gift has been received. Between the time a gift comes to us and the time we pass it along, we suffer gratitude. Moreover, with gifts that are agents of change, it is only when the gift has worked in us, only when we have come up to its level, as it were, that we can give it away again. Passing a gift along is the act of gratitude that finishes the labor. The transformation is not accomplished until we have the power to give the gift on our own terms. Therefore, the end of the labor of gratitude is similarity with the gift or with its donor. Once this similarity has been achieved we may feel a lingering or generalized gratitude, but we won’t feel it with the urgency of true indebtedness.”
I believe that when we do not pass on the gifts we are given, our suffering of gratitude becomes the root of a lack of meaning in our lives. Re-gifting the good we have been given by others unharnesses us from this debt of gratitude, releases us from being the needy recipient and creates in us the powerful feeling of being a giver. We as leaders find meaning in our life because of the gifts of encouragement and engagement that we can bestow to others who are struggling on their journey. Sharing our fire with others by regifting the help, advice and knowledge we have been given establishes our authenticity in the minds of others.
Marc Hardy, Ph.D.