Sometimes clichés are actually true. “It’s better to give than receive” has actually been shown to be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver both psychologically, and when at work, professionally. And you don’t have to necessarily be like my friend Mimi, who each year on her birthday gives a gift or random act of kindness for every year she has blessed us with her presence on this earth. You don’t have to wait for Christmas either. And, even better, these gifts are free, don’t need to be wrapped, and take no additional time on your part.
Ah, I’ve turned into a snake oil salesman, you think. Is this too good to be true?
You be the judge of these gifts:
Your Undivided Attention, With Openness and Acceptance – You interact with others all day, ranging from the few seconds it takes to pass a stranger on the street to lengthy conversations with loved ones. The quality of that interaction has more to do than just the duration of that meeting: it also has to do with whether the recipient has your undivided attention. Furthermore, if you approach that interaction with positivity and openness (as opposed to negativity, judgment, and the need to control), that 2 second to 2 hour interaction is its own gift to the recipient.
Your Forgiveness – We live in a complicated society and culture where it seems like even the most benign gesture, action or words can hurt or offend. If you feel someone has wronged you, consider your own failed attempts to avoid offense. Others most likely are trying their best to avoid trespass, despite what may seem like malintent. Forgiveness is a big gift to them, and an even bigger gift to yourself when you can let go of resentment and hurt.
Space – Sometimes others just need space: space on the road, space around their physical being or home, space without interaction or pressure, or space to just make their own decisions, process, and reflect. Maybe you need your own space. Give it to yourself as a way to give love to yourself.
These seemingly small gifts can actually be major even though they are free and take little or no extra time. Remember, like any new habit, these practices may feel awkward at first but will feel more natural with time. Observe the gift’s impact on others and how they make you feel, as the giver. My guess is it will feel like the best part of Christmas, every day!