On Gift Giving and Receiving

We do it everyday. Something less than great happens, we react. And perhaps we feel guilty, upset, sad for having thoughts that are not helpful to us.

We want happiness, wrapped up and ready to go. But that is a gift that is earned. One that you cannot beg or plead with another to give to you. They won’t have it because you’re already holding onto it. The hint is to notice that it is currently in your hands. And in the style of gift-giving, when someone gives you something, you accept the gift graciously, regardless of the fact that the size was wrong, it was not what you expected, or the gift is something you are pretty sure your friend would enjoy a whole lot more than you would.

Same rules apply for the emotional quality of our days. If we receive a package full of terrible one day, the instinct is to sulk, or complain, or harbor on the fact that “this wasn’t what I wanted.” But just think if you threw a tantrum every time someone tried to give you something. Chances are, they will be reluctant to try to give you another gift in the future. (And the little one that gives macaroni necklaces eventually becomes an expert gift-giver with time. Imagine squashing the homemade gift in front of the person who presented it to you.)

But if instead, you offer a simple thank you, it becomes possible to recognize your emotional reaction, without qualifying it as good, bad, or otherwise, and see the inherent gift within the somewhat haggard packaging. The beauty of vulnerability, the brilliance of despair: these are the springboards to knowing yourself better. Why deny yourself the thoughts and emotions that are entirely your own?

Here’s to learning to accept the emotional gifts that we would sometimes prefer to return. And to becoming a better gift-giver and receiver in the process.

5 thoughts on “On Gift Giving and Receiving

  1. if I can create a way to avoid this emotional gifts..I would learn the art..to stop this delivery instantly, no matter how much I miss out..but one thing I know..the delivery makes my life full of misery..and the line of tragedies is really tiring to bear ..let alone accept or control

  2. This is so true! I really get a lot out of your blog. You are intelligent and inspiring! I’m sharing some of your images on my Pinterest, and will credit/link to you soon when I post about some of the things you speak about that speak to me! I hope I get to meet you one day. Have you ever been in Hawaii? A blogging friend of mine, who lives here too, also feels our ‘literal’ isolation-being as we are on a little island in the middle of the pacific. Thank goodness for the metaphorical meeting of minds and hearts that blogging brings.

    • Sabrina, thank you so much for your kind words. And happy that you got something out of the posts! I have been to Hawaii and loved the trip. I can understand that island living could get isolating though. As you said, good thing we have ways of connecting now that can bring people from even the most disparate corners of the globe together. Aloha!

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