The Importance of a Positive Contribution
By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.
Each of us has a meter inside, where we consciously or unconsciously measure the balance of give and take that exists in our relationships. Whether dealing with business or social relationships or with family members or friends, we all gauge the level of positive reciprocity that exists.
To judge the balance of give and take in a relationship is not selfishness. It can be, but in healthy relationships it is natural to want to do our fair share; especially if we truly appreciate and value the other person or institution.
We make sure that we are a team player at our businesses or jobs and show up on time and add value to collaborative projects. We also make sure that colleagues or higher-ups are not left ‘holding the bag’ or have to clean up our mistakes. In social relationships we make sure we are friendly, ensure that we show up for parties or special events and alternate who picks up the tab for lunch or dinner. We also check up on friends and acquaintances when we haven’t seen them for a while.
With family, the same principles apply. Calls, visits, invitations to dinners and watching kids in an emergency all fall within the realm of maintaining balance.
If you are conscientious of your need to maintain the give and take balance in relationships, congratulations! However, from time to time, we need to review all of our relationships to see if we are providing positive contributions or if we are taking more than we are giving.
If we are accepting more than we give then we must re-balance that relationship. Sometimes we aren’t mindful of a co-worker that we always allow to handle certain difficult tasks because they “do it so well.” Or a mentor who always provides references, advice and introductions, but only receives a big, “Thank you so much!,” in return. Or a family member that is depended on too much and sometimes not even thanked because of the idea that is what brothers, mothers or aunts do.
Seeking a give and take balance is the best way to keep relationships thriving, healthy and to ensure growth for everyone involved. Have you contributed to your relationships lately?