Across cultures, religions, and continents, this time of year is a universal season of gift giving. In the Western world the holiday season begins months ahead and the rushing and buying can add to an already manic pace of modern life. With the hurrying around and dashing about, please pause for a moment, now, to consider your relationship with giving.
The act of giving is a gesture that may have some hidden and unconscious motivations. Reflecting upon your intention for giving may help you see if there is something you are unconsciously holding on to.
Many people see gift-giving as having to give up time to shop or the obligation to come up with unique ideas for a gift. You may also see giving as something connected with giving up opinions or perspectives on other people. It may be the financial resources that you would rather hold on to than to buy the gift. If you see gift-giving as something to give up, it may be interfering with your freedom to give generously.
The benefit of reflecting upon your attitude of gift giving and generosity is that it can help you uncover potential attachments and assumptions, such as “I am giving because I am expected to.” Paying attention to your thoughts about giving can create insights into internal conversations you may be having with yourself that are limiting your freedom of expression and generosity.
If gift giving creates negative emotions or feelings of contraction, you may be stuck in a disempowering relationship with giving through the three roles of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). For example, if your intention is confined to getting something in return, you may say to yourself: “I’ll give you this awesome gift and then you’ll love me more.” This is the voice of a Rescuer who is “giving to get.”
Or, if you are coming from a Persecutor intention of being more in control, you might say unconsciously to yourself: “I’ll give so that you’ll see how great and generous I am.”
From Victim thinking, you may force yourself to give, but may unconsciously think: “I’ll only give so much, because I have so little.”
Donna used to work in fundraising development with a non-profit and learned a phrase that is a reframe of “give until it hurts. ” Instead, “give until it feels good.”
We benefit personally from being generous by knowing that what we are giving is beneficial to others. This awareness also feeds our emotional connection and cultivates our human need for connectivity. This is the source of our own freedom and living an empowered life.
The intention of generosity behind gift giving is to open your own heart so those receiving your gifts feel the caring that is the source of your gift. It may be a homemade card rather than an expensive card. It may be a gift of your time. It may be a beautiful note that you’ve written about how much you care about someone. Indeed, gifts need not be “stuff!”
Acting on your urge to share without needing others to give back is a gift to yourself. Generosity is given without strings. It is a movement towards your own freedom.
We enjoy the opportunity to gift these essays to you each week. As a gesture of our appreciation for our connectivity through “TED! Works!®,” we offer the gift of the TED* Daily Affirmation, which pulls together TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and 3 Vital Questions® practices. Reading it each morning is a great way to start the day with empowered intention. Please feel free to print it share with others as you wish.
May you enjoy a generous holiday season!