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 really influenced me a lot. Jim Stovall says, that it is important to give something to someone with the right spirit, and not out of a sense of obligation. He also says that one of the keys to giving is that the gift must be yours to give; either something you have earned, created or something that is a part of yourself. So, don't simply give away money, but instead take up the challenge and be creative to give in other ways.
So, I thought about it and realised that, though a lot of us are giving many of these gifts already, we don't realise it ourselves. We might discount these actions as amounting to nothing or not worth mentioning at all.
I am sharing a list of activities that I am sure many of you are already doing or have done in the past.
1. We often send out good wishes or peace. Sometimes we send out prayers. This is the gift of compassion and good vibrations.
2. When we give people the gift of our smile or wish people a cheery good morning, we spread joy. This is the gift of our happy temperament.
3. We often give genuine compliments. This makes someone's day. This is the gift of our good nature.
There are a few of us who are good at singing and sing for someone. There are yet others who can pen a few good lines and sometimes dedicate their poetry to friends and family. Daily, we cook and serve a yummy dish with love to feed family and friends. At other times, we share our receipes or give tips which add the X factor to make recipes yummier. There are some among us blessed with a green thumb. They share gardening tips with others or gift the flowers and fruits from their garden. This is the gift of our talents.
4. There must have been times when we listened to someone, counseled someone, guided someone, in our circle of influence. This is the gift of our time and wisdom.
5. Remember the countless hugs we give or hold someone's hand. It's so comforting to family members and friends when you expresse your affection and appreciation for them. They love it when you spend uninterrupted time with them. This is the gift of your love.
6. We all sometimes, run an errand for a neighbour, teach a kid in our neighbourhood or baby sit to help a mother or parents to take time off. Sometimes, we lend a hand in someone else's chores to lighten their burden. There are times when we offer to drop someone, though it might be a little detour for us. On occassion, you might have offered your seat to someone in a bus or train, or let someone come ahead in a queue. There are some days when you willfully let your service staff take a break from work, because you notice that he/ she is unwell. This is the gift of being considerate.
7. We sometimes thank staff who serve us, for services they offer, through genuine words of appreciation. This is the gift of respecting and appreciating another.
8. Maybe, some of us are tech-savvy and offer to teach an elderly neighbour how to use a mobile phone or a computer. This is the gift of helping.
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. When happy memories stir up in us, we call long lost friends and acquaintences to just say hello, ask after them and remind them of something we liked or appreciated about them. They are pleasantly surprised by this phone call and their tinkling laughter tells it all. This is the gift of acknowledgement.
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. Haven't you always said kind words to someone, you know is facing a challenge? 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. All of us have kept the secrets of our friends. This is gift of friendship and loyalty.
We all do or have done some or all of these things at some time or the other in our life. It's just being mindful and making a mental note of the same. These small achievements and the resulting bonding created, releases happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. These small gifts that we give, increase the feelings of well-being and confidence that we too can contribute, to make the world around us a better place to live in.
Make a list of some such things that you have done in the past or are currently doing. It's nice to know that you don't have to limit yourself to only tangible gifts. Remember, it's the thought that counts!