“The best things in life aren’t things.”
This little piece of wisdom came straight from a bumper sticker.
A few years ago, as the holiday season was approaching, my thoughts turned to gifts. I decided to ask several people: “How would you define a gift?”
Here’s a sampling of the responses I collected:
- “To me, a gift is a symbol of appreciation–when someone lets me know that I’m appreciated.”
- “Acceptance. By that I mean when I’m simply accepted for who I am.”
- “Being given something without any strings.”
- “When I’m totally surprised. An unanticipated gift–coming out of nowhere.”
Amazing. Of the many people I surveyed, not one mentioned a particular material object.
The message is loud and clear:
Gifts aren’t defined by wrapped boxes with pretty bows. The real thing–what we treasure most–comes straight from the heart!
Gifts show up in an assortment of “unboxable” packages, such as smiles, thank-you’s, compliments, and various acts of kindness.
Giving of our time is a gift. Just ask the elderly.
Listening without interrupting or judging is a gift. Just ask any teenager.
The act of giving is good for us. It makes us glow inside, and studies show that giving to others is an elixir for depression. I recall a particular client, Holly, who felt worthless and insignificant. “I have nothing to give,” she said.
“What do you love doing, Holly?” I asked.
Without the slightest hesitation she told me she loves taking care of toddlers. I couldn’t help but be fascinated while she chatted nonstop about countless delightful moments with them. And I couldn’t help but notice how her face lit up for the first time!
Challenging her self-doubt, I asked: “What do you mean, you don’t have anything to give? Not everyone can pull that off! You have a gift, Holly.”
Tears trickled down her face.
“Not only that,” I continued, “everyone you meet has a toddler tucked somewhere inside of them, just needing someone like you to show them love and acceptance.”
Hmmm. It appears that gift-giving possibilities are endless, inexpensive and fairly easy!
For something to qualify as a “gift,” it need only be paired with the heart. ♥
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.
(c) Salee Reese 2018