The Gift of Interaction

by Elaine Sihera - Date: 2007-02-15 - Word Count: 728 Share This!

Back in my other life of ignorance and low awareness, someone would pay me a compliment and I would feel terribly embarrassed about it; as though I did not deserve it. They might say how wonderful I looked in that smashing dress, etc. My only reply would be an awkward, lame "You mean this thing I'm wearing? It's ages old and not that great." Throwing their honest admiration back in their face.

Someone else might offer to do something for me but I was too 'independent' to accept. I wanted to keep that independence intact and, though I got real pleasure from doing things for others, I was either too great, or undeserving, to accept anything from anyone. My sense of independence and not wishing to be obliged, or be a 'burden', would stop their efforts in their tracks!

Someone else might just wish for my company, but I was too busy for them. They were not that important in the scheme of all the other occupational, social and domestic routine things that took priority. The result? I grew increasingly deficient in the joys of human interaction.

Ram Dass, the spiritual writer, describes human interaction as the 'greatest gift' between people. We are on this earth not to live sad, lonely lives of isolation, but to interact as kindred Souls in a spirit of reinforcement and encouragement. Nothing matters to us except trough another human being. Our love, our affection, our reinforcement, our promotion, our encouragement, our hugs, our victories are all achieved through others. Without another human being, life as we know it is not possible. We would simply go insane without that essential interaction to affirm our existence and value. Yet we take people (especially loved ones, children, parents, relatives, friends) so much for granted in our exalted journey of life. Travelling alone and sad becomes more important to us than sharing the journey in greater happiness and fulfilment. People gradually come second place to every other inanimate priority in our lives.

Grateful Acceptance
But that compliment or affirmation should be returned calmly with a reciprocating compliment of acknowledgement and thanks. The act someone wishes to do for us should be accepted without a murmur and with thankfulness that someone really cares enough to want to do it. We do not have to prove our independence at all in any selfish way. By living our lives our own way, without dependence on anyone, we are already giving loud signals as to who we are and wish to be. Finding time to call, to chat, to arrange a visit for someone could be the last wonderful thing you do for them in their lifetime. We do not know how long we each have left, so every day should be lived as though it could be the last, to be savoured and shared. Finally, forgiving someone - or ourself - a negative action is crucial if we are to let the past go, to savour the moment and to anticipate all the other wonderful moments coming up in our journey of life.

All those actions are extremely important because every time we deny someone the opportunity to interact with us through a compliment, an action or forgiveness we negate their efforts to reach out to us, we belittle their humble offering, we diminish their admiration for us and we exclude them from the process of living to THEIR fulfillment. In short, we deny them the opportunity of feeling good about themselves through joyful positive actions and association with what is good within us.

Interaction is a gift between two human beings. They both feel special, valued and significant from the exchange. Don't withhold that compliment today, give it freely and joyously. You don't know what it could mean for that person. It could be like an oasis of water in a parched desert. Don't refuse that kind deed, welcome it warmly and reciprocate where possible. It helps to make someone else feel special, while giving us a warm glow of usefulness. Don't withhold that forgiveness. It shows your ability to be divine rather than just human, to move on rather than hang back in an emotional rut.

I feel very special sharing this with you today and I hope you feel special for receiving it. That's the essence of life - to share with love, and being enriched by it, while we each continue on our personal journey.

Related Tags: social, forgiveness, compliment, isolation, interaction, connection

ELAINE SIHERA (Ms Cyprah - is an expert author, media contributor and columnist. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University, Elaine is a CONSULTANT for Diversity Management, Personal Empowerment and Relationships. Dynamic extrovert with a passion for living and people. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise and Managing the Diversity Maze, among others (available on Also the founder of the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Achievement Awards.

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