During the month leading up to Christmas, there is always the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays–getting a tree, decorating, baking, hosting parties, going to parties, buying gifts, making trips to see relatives. It is easy to get swept away with the want-to’s, need-to’s, and have-to’s.
This holiday, I want to turn the focus back on giving.
This one can seem to come naturally as we are out in the hullabaloo of crazy mall parking and crowds to buy gifts for others. Rather than boxes and bags, why not give something more precious–your time, a joint experience, a deeper relationship? The effect of a sincere compliment, say about how you’ve noticed how dedicated someone is to a cause they believe in, or how you’ve appreciated that they always have a listening ear when you need to talk, is more meaningful and long-lasting to a person than a nice perfume or designer purse. If we could take all the things that make up life and take a hard look at what really matters, we would find that people, relationships, shared memories, and a close support of family and friends would outweigh a prestigious job, possessions, acclaim…anything. Take time to give yourself to others and you’ll be giving someone a treasure.
It’s easy to let your needs fall by the wayside when there are other people who seem to take precedence (kids, spouse, work, church, etc.). Women especially seem to perceive self-care as self-ish, but it really is necessary for being able to do step one and give to others. As you nourish yourself and take care of your being, you will find a renewed sense of identity (you’re not just a mother, wife, fill in the blank), energy (you are not running on fumes), self-respect (you have appropriate boundaries and don’t let others take advantage of you), health (you nurture your body with good food and let it move daily), and self-love (the best gift of all). So go ahead and give to yourself and why not throw in some nice bath salts while you’re at it!
Once you start giving to yourself and growing your relationships with others as you give to them, you are ready to give to the world. You now have the safe, loving, and supportive foundation from which to spread your wings and fly. You can be yourself and go against others expectations of you. You can stop spending time and money trying to fit into a mold and rather create your own future by not wasting another today stuffing your dreams under the carpet because they are too crazy, require too much risk, or tug on your chains of comfort. Give the world your inward beauty, your creativity, your passion to help others, your talents. Give, give, give. One gift at a time, you’ll change the world.
What did you give this Christmas?