What is the best gift you've ever received? What made it special? Some of us love giving gifts while others prefer to receive them, but we all know that not all presents represent the same value. Often the value of the gift is subjective and determined by the receiver of the gift. We tend to value gifts that are meaningful, thoughtful, practical, and/or exceptional. Some of the best presents I've received are experience gifts especially when they include spending time with people I love. Sharing time and experiencing a new or different adventure with a friend or family member creates memorable moments. Experiences create stories which turn into memories which last forever. We can also give other types of gifts that don't require money, but may be more costly. For example, the gifts of time, affection, forgiveness, and attention. Some of us are very stingy with these types of gifts and would much prefer spending money over these intangible gifts. What is so difficult about sharing the above gifts?
It's possible that we don't realize how much value there is in the intangible gifts that we can share with others. Or maybe these gifts weren't shared often with us growing up. We may be afraid to share these gifts with others based on past experiences and expect that we'll get taken advantage of or manipulated. Some avoid being vulnerable and lack trust in others so they don't share very well. Maybe we have unresolved conflicts or negative emotions that prevent us from giving the intangible gifts freely. Sometimes we hang onto these feelings to protect us from anticipated pain, yet this can prevent us from experiencing pleasure too. Many of us tend to compartmentalize our emotions and place little value on sharing them, yet in reality they strengthen our connections to people. What gifts are you willing to give this holiday season? And can you consider giving them throughout the year?
While the intangible gifts mentioned above can be difficult, they can also be empowering. These gifts of love are choices we make daily and impact our lives in significant ways. I suggest you give the gift not because you want one in return but instead because it's the right thing to do and can release you from residual emotional pain. More specifically, forgiveness enables us to let go of hurt and anger even when the other person doesn't deserve it since holding these negative emotions only keeps us stuck in pain. Attention, affection, time, and respect are choice gifts that can change relationships. But don't wait for the other person to give first or keep score because that will only lead to withholding and further disconnection. Decide today to be an intangible gift giver and pay attention to the changes it makes in others and yourself. Webster's definition of a gift,"something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation," describes it well. Recognize the value in intangible gift giving and choose to start the process today. Thank you to all my faithful readers and followers. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.