What Happens When You Put Others Before You?

We have been taught to give, and give back. And yet, many of us have not been taught to receive. This is one place where intention is not enough. You can have great intentions, but when the other person is not capable of receiving, you are simply giving your energy away.

Let's go back to when we were children. When we said yes , we meant yes . When we said no , we meant no . Just watch kids. They know their minds and hearts until we teach them differently. We played, we laughed, we fell down, we cried, and then we got up.

But what happens when we grow older? Are we taught to guess what others want from us, or to ask them and listen? How many times have you had a tough time buying a gift for someone, wanting to surprise them, and them accepting the gift without telling you it missed the mark? And if so, what happens when that occurs? Do we suppress who we truly are by pretending we are grateful? The experts will tell you how to react in this situation, but that is the trap.

The deeper question is why in the world are we in this situation to begin with. Who set up these systems? Why is the element of surprise so admired in our culture, when our opportunity is to connect and exchange the value we bring? To openly share and connect the colors we bring to the world. And as we get older, we often discover that the greatest gifts do not come wrapped in paper with a big bow.

At work and in life, we get into some very harsh relationships sometimes, where there is disconnect, and sometimes conflict. Like buying a gift for someone, with only intentions, we can miss the mark. We can assume we have agreement and understanding, when the truth is the opposite. There is disharmony and conflict. While each person is sure they are doing their best (which they are), opportunities are missed buried in hurt feelings, confusion and angst.

Each side draws lines in their beliefs, and drama ensues in real life. All because we are not communicating and not communicating. A true loss of any shared purpose since each person thinks they have the solution. But they forgot what the question is.

And here is what it means. It means true transformation at the foundational levels. It means realizing that we must think of the person who is receiving what we are giving, and that we must openly communicate with them in an ongoing way. It is a shift from transactional mindsets to building relationships and communities. It does mean we must agree. But it does mean we need clarity of purpose, and realize that if it is hard or there is resistance, it may not be where we should be right now.

Related: It's Time for Each of Us to Leap Into Uncertainty

How many times do you find yourself doing something, not matter how noble or not, and it being at your own expense? This is not self-love. This is conditioning teaching you to please others first. We will have amazing leaders when we each become more conscious, self-compassionate and learn how to talk to ourselves with kindness. Only then, can we find our voice to co-create with others.

This is not about being selfish or narcissistic. There are situations where we still need to play the game. But the more authentic you become with yourself, the less game playing you will find yourself caught up in. And the more meaning and purpose you will find.

Try it at your own pace. Only you know yourself.

Welcome to 2017 where we have 365 days to play, create and connect.