‘Tis the season for gift-giving, and you don’t have to be a kid to get excited about opening presents and watching loved ones do the same.
As gratifying as it is to give gifts and receive them, there are some gifts you can only give yourself. Which doesn’t mean a shopping spree so you can purchase exactly what you want. Some gifts have nothing to do with sweaters or gift cards or picture frames; some have to do with your inner world, your heart and soul.
Take some time to reflect on the kinds of gifts you and only you can provide for yourself…which might include:
The Gift of Contentment. It’s a well-known axiom that “contentment can’t be bought.” True contentment has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have. Proof lies in the fact that unhappy people are found on every rung of the economic ladder. Deep-down contentment always occurs within yourself. It has everything to do with emotional and spiritual well-being, and it is not dependent upon any possession, job title, or other external factor.
The Gift of Growth. Other people can provide encouragement and role modeling as you seek to develop in a particular area—but the motivation and actual change can only come from within you. Look for ways to maximize your talents or curtail your shortcomings. The aim is not perfection—the aim is to reach your full potential. The gift of change-for-the-better is a blessing to yourself and everyone around you.
The Gift of Forgiveness. While this may sound overly religious or metaphysical, forgiveness is, in fact, quite practical. You needn’t be super-spiritual to pull it off. A common misconception is that to forgive someone is to let them “get away” with something, to call offensive or hurtful behavior “okay” when it plainly wasn’t. The truth is, forgiveness means choosing to cancel old emotional debts—and free yourself to get away with your heart intact, able to enjoy whatever comes next.
The Gift of “Getting Over It.” The “it” in this phrase could be anything that is holding you back and weighing you down. It might be a big setback you encountered this past year, a promising relationship that ended badly, or a job prospect that didn’t come through. Emotional healing often begins in a ritual of letting go. Write out your thoughts and feelings in your journal, and then turn the page—literally and figuratively. Make a list of things you wish to leave behind and burn it. Whatever it takes, find the act that will allow you to drop old baggage as you cross the threshold into new possibilities.
The Gift of Worry-Reduction. There is no end to things we might worry about: job security, tight finances, health concerns, political unrest, and relationship uncertainty. Anxiety is a wet blanket thrown over you and the people around you. For one thing, nothing undermines inner peace faster than fear over some future event, which may or may not ever happen. It causes you to miss the pleasures and opportunities in the present moment.
The Gift of Gumption. “Gumption” is an old-fashioned word that means guts, bravery, or courage. Before another day goes by, pick a tangible action that will move you in the direction of your dreams—and do it. Take a deep breath and commit. Introspection and resolution are only profitable if they lead you to be bold and make real changes. Chances are there is at least one big thing you’ve wanted to accomplish but haven’t. This is the time to summon up all your gumption and go for it.
Here’s an added benefit of this self-gift giving: As you’re enriching your own life with personal-development gifts, you are undoubtedly make yourself more attractive to potential partners.
Which of these gifts do you need to give yourself the most?