Permit me to seek clarification of your statement "The most important gift we can give is of ourselves. The most important gift we can receive is of another person.".
Is it really possible, feasible or even recommended to be so casually trusting by exposing one's essence and vulnerability so unconditionally to another fallible human being? I would cringe if someone offered "of themselves" to me without any condition, agreement or understanding of necessary boundaries or conditions to such a gift. The responsibility to my mind would be massive and crushing. Rather, may we substitute the word "from" in the place of "of", thereby reserving the right to retain certain characteristics or essential features of ourselves that would prove too fragile outside of our control. Perhaps then, throughout the course of the relationship, we can determine which parts to share, to relinquish, and to exchange reasonably, safely, and with full mutual benefit and proper regard for each other.
Yes totally agree.
While I do hold that giving of yourself is the highest regard and receiving of another is the highest honor, it is something that is cautiously (in my cae blantant paranoia) earned through (as you say) awareness.
I do believe in accepting people for who they are. If people are gossips, I can accept they will gossip about me. If they betray people, I can accept that they will betray me. Its a statement of who they are. Which means they only qualify for the level of giving as they earn. If people hurt their uke in training, I can assume and accept they may hurt me. There have been people I didn not want to work out with in the mat because I did not trust them as good people. Because Of that lack of trust (which later was proven correct), I was and awful training partner (too resisting as uke and too agressive as tori/nage). Likewise, if they treat others with care and respect, I can assume and accept that they may treat me in like manner. Because how we are is a statement of who we are.
In self-defense I always teach situational and threat awareness. Based on noticeable behavior, many people are not worthy of trust while others are. Sublte (and obvious) awareness and sensitivity allows us to sense and know who others are and what they intend to do. It allows us to respond (not just react) with the appropirate response to the appropriate stimulus.
The bottom line of the Serenity Prayer is "And the wisdom to know the difference." Awareness and discernment are very valuable and learnable skills.
The closer you are to "me" the more gift I give and receive. There are very (very) few people that close.
Thank you for reading and your always thought provoking response.