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How to be the best gift giver

Are you a good gift … receiver?


My school has this program that gives students “high fives.” These are at a boys and girls teachers send to kids to acknowledge any area of their growth and success. I took advantage of sending a few fivers a month ago to a student in French one that started to emerge as a leader in the classroom. Instead of being the last kid to know how to complete an assignment (his usual) he became the one offering an explanation to a fellow camarade de classe. Inspired by his sudden interest in French I thought I would let him know that I noticed his great work ethic and hoped that the old technique of praising a child for the behavior you want to see, still held true.


To my dismay this student started showing up late with no paper, pencil and a penchant for chitchatting instead of productivity. What on earth happened? I checked to be sure my high five did indeed get posted, yep…he saw it. Then why the downward spiral? Where was the beaming smile stretching from ear to ear awaiting the pats on the back?


This kid was unaccustomed to getting noticed for his academic efforts as the court or field is more his arena and consequently he could not receive the energy I was sending his way. His vision of himself as a student and the one I hold are vastly different. Somewhere along the way, whether from guardians or friends, he holds tightly to the idea that he is incapable of being a good student. His reaction was to dig into the patterns of behavior that sabotaged any efforts to move in lockstep with the energy of academic success. Does this sound familiar to any of you? Are you able to receive and truly believe the complements and offerings of love that come your way?


Over the years I have noticed that the people who are the best at blocking this loving energy also happen to be borderline martyrs. They love to give their time and their money with absolutely no expectation of receiving, except perhaps that deep seated need to be known as the one who sacrifices for others. This is not a conscious awareness mind you, but we have all been there when a coworker or friend looking exhausted, hands us a plate of Christmas cookies, hoping we will marvel at the time it took to bake them at the expense of their good night’s sleep. They typically flash that demure smile on cue when we tell them how amazing they are and that they really are doing too much! Those cookies should come with a warning label that reads “Consuming these delectable treats will give you indigestion as they contain strings tying you and their maker to the dysfunctional patterns of giving in order to receive validation from outside sources, and their flavor and effect on your body will reflect that.”


So how do we shift that energy in order to be the best gift givers this holiday season? How do we assure others that we truly want them to have and enjoy what we offer?


*We start with appreciating being appreciated and letting that energy permeate our beings. When someone takes the time to share something positive about you with you, resist the urge to deflect the energy by immediately complementing them back, changing the subject or looking down at your feet. Choose instead to meet their eyes and say, “I receive that, thank you!”


*We triple check our motives before taking any action to verify that we are doing things because we feel good when we do it. Full stop. Most of us do things because we feel obligated. A lot of the time we are the ones that place those expectations on ourselves. Maybe we learned in our core families that in order to be socially accepted we must perform certain duties or else risk being an outcast. So consequently, we drag ourselves to busy stores after a long day at work to find the perfect gifts for our coworkers. Or we might agree to attend holiday parties when we would rather take a hot bath and sit by the fire at home. If you are burned out and feel like hibernating on December the 26th, this might be you.


You must experience what it is to truly receive from another before you can give any gift with high vibrational energy. Those inspirational ideas mean nothing if the energy it takes to manifest them into Christmas presents gets muddied with obligations and ulterior motives.


Relationships are the caldron where your true self can emerge, so examines your reactions to being the receiver and triple check your motives when giving. Recognize that whatever fills you up this season is the energy that will infuse those gifts, baked goods, and Christmas cards with good vibes, so be sure to keep your tank full. You do not have to create a Norman Rockwell Christmas to live in technicolor, just get comfortable letting others praise your efforts and show you the love. When you respond to that energy from your heart any and all of your gifts will be filled with the magic of Christmas. Joyeux Noël!  

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