The Gift of Giving: It's the thought that counts
I recently read a beautiful book called 'The Ultimate Gift' by Jim Stovall. There is a chapter in the book called, "The Gift of Giving", which greatly influenced me. Jim says that it is important to give something with the right spirit, and not out of a sense of obligation. He directs us to give gifts that are ours to give; either something we have earned or created or something that is an integral part of ourselves. Hence I compiled a list of creative ways to practice giving. This has increased the pleasure of giving in my life manifold and I hope it does the same for you as well.
1. We can send out good wishes or peace. We can even send out prayers. This is the gift of our compassion.
2. How often have we noticed that a bright smile or a cheery good morning wish helps spread immense joy? This is the gift of our happy temperament.
3. A genuine compliment appreciating someone can really make their day. This is gifting someone our good nature.
4. Each one of us is blessed with many talents. If we are blessed with a mellifluous voice, we can try and dedicate our songs to our loved ones on special days like their birthdays. One can do the same if blessed with a talent to pen poetry.
Most of us can cook and share a yummy dish from our kitchen with neighbours and friends. One can also share recipes and cooking tips. Some among us are blessed with a green thumb and can share gardening tips with others or gift flowers and fruits from their garden.
This is the gift of our talents.
5. Sometimes we can lend our ears to a friend so that they may vent their feelings. Sometimes we can provide them, with good counsel. This is the gift of our time and wisdom.
6. Many people need to be hugged and held in order to feel loved and comforted. Holding a loved one’s hand can be very reassuring when they are feeling anxious, worried or fearful. This is the gift of our love.
7. We can offer to carry the bags for senior neighbours. We can give a lift to acquaintances, though it might be a little detour for us. We can also offer our seat to someone on a bus or train, or in the doctor’s waiting room. We can let our service staff take a break from work because we notice that he/ she is unwell. This is the gift of being considerate.
8. It is a good practice to thank the staff who serve us at restaurants, at airports, in shops and at bus or train stations. This is the gift of respecting and appreciating another.
9. There are some days when we send out thank you notes to old friends, teachers or any people who may have helped us in the past. This is the gift of gratitude.
10. Recently I felt happy memories stir up in me. So, I called up a long-lost friend to ask after her. I also reminisced about some qualities I liked in her. My friend was pleasantly surprised by this phone call and her tinkling laughter said it all. This is the gift of acknowledgment.
11. There are a few people who are blessed with a great sense of humour. They often make other people laugh. They spread the gift of laughter and joy.
12. We can say a few kind words to someone who we know is facing a challenge in life. This is the gift of encouragement.
13. I know of wonderful people who successfully clear an exam, or lose weight successfully. They then, willingly share their tips and learnings with those who might need the help. Many of us offer some items from our lunch box at office, school or college on a daily basis. This is the gift of sharing.
14. We inspire confidence in our friends when we guard their secrets in the depths of our hearts. This is the gift of our friendship and loyalty.
All the above acts not only enable bonding but also improve our mental well-being by releasing happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. The ability to give also boosts our feelings of confidence. It feels good when we can contribute to making the world a better place to live in.
Isn’t it nice to know that we don't have to limit ourselves to giving only tangible gifts?
Remember, it's the thought that counts!