Everyone wants to be used—the circle of life.
Originally published on Holly Kellums 2 days ago·3 min read
I was talking with my mom yesterday as we headed into the store.
She said, “Makes you feel useful,” in a positive tone.
I stopped and looked at her before responding. My interest was no longer in what we were discussing. It was just those words — they hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Makes you feel useful”
They did that thing where the simplest form of a sentence just hits you in some profound way, out of nowhere.
“Yes, you are so right, Mom. Everyone wants to be used!” I said.
She looked at me funnily, as I said, “Just not too much.”
When we talk about someone being used in a relationship, we usually think of it as a bad thing. Comments around people using people usually have negative connotations.
“Oh, she is just using him”
When you consider what it actually means to be used, though, you can see that we all want to be used, just not too much.
Writers want people to use their gifts and ideas by reading their work and applying it.
Artists dream of people using their masterpieces to hang on an all-important wall or stand and stare at for hours on end.
Vocalists and musicians hope people use their music to blast and sing along — as they take their road trip, clean their house or celebrate a life event.
Teachers spend their lives teaching so their students may learn lessons and use them in their lives.
The platforms on which we publish depend on being used by us for their very existence.
The drug dealer wants people to use their drugs and the hope dealer wants people to use their hope.
No matter who you are or where your passion lies on the spectrum of human possibility, you have no reason to share your gifts, your work, or your ideas with the world — if no-one is going to use them.
Being used isn’t bad. We all want to be used. What we don’t want is to be over-used, under-appreciated or under-compensated.
Using isn’t going anywhere. We will continue to use and be used, just like I use this keyboard to write these words and you use your device to read them.
Using and being used is nothing more than the circle of life. It is the most simple, yet most profound concept of our existence.
It is not that we wish not to be used, it is the way we are used and the way we use that matters.
When we let go of the negative connotations around being used, we can be mindful about using and being used. Instead of focusing on not being used and not using others, we can focus on using each other in more balanced and meaningful ways.
Written by Holly Kellums