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Gifting your spirit

I really, really enjoy getting gifts for other people. However, there is one caveat to this endeavor that I covet. If I feel pressured by time, as in I forgot and didn’t allow myself enough idea generating opportunity to bring an idea to fruition – or all of a sudden I’m told it’s my turn to gift somebody something and I end up in panic mode, I loathe the activity. I require time for heartfelt gifts and having the time for this brings me great delight. I’ve often thought, if I didn’t have a full-time job that required so many hours of my day, I could really dig in deep with gift giving. Yet, I need the money from a job in order to purchase said gifts. Ah, such a dilemma.

A valuable endeavor

An idea that I’ve had and maybe you could provide me some feedback (it would be much appreciated) is to actually run a business of gift giving. I know that not everyone finds the process of searching for gifts to be a pleasurable experience, as I do – so maybe, just maybe this could be a service that others would find valuable. I could come up with a basic questionnaire regarding the individual receiving the gift and what the occasion is or if the individual is going through a difficult time, the gift would be oriented slightly differently to bring solace and comfort to the individual. I just love when I give someone a gift that resonates deeply, speaking to their soul, lifting them up with unique recognition. For me, there isn’t a dollar amount that directs this process, sometimes a small gift delivers the most beautiful and meaningful touch to that moment. As much as I’d love to give someone the moon, it’s just not in the stars! 😉 Perhaps that could be the name of my business?! Something to do with the moon and stars. Leave me your ideas in the comment section!

Giving to others is good for you

What I really feel while thinking about the receiver of the gift seems slightly selfish. There is actually research into this phenomenon that has been around awhile. It’s pretty awesome when the time you spend considering others and putting your energy into what might light them up actually benefits your own mental health and well-being even more than if you had spent that same money on yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we need to focus on ourselves in order to provide for others. I have talked a lot about that and how our own self-care and self-love are often abused in an effort to do more for others. However, it doesn’t work that way. If your cup isn’t full, you have nothing to pour into others. Focusing on filling your cup first is the only way that you can substantially give and serve others. I’m going to give you a brief exercise to do right now to really bring this message home.

Don’t forget about yourself

There are two scenarios that I want you to either try out for real (if it’s applicable to your life) or simply read it. At each step of the exercise, pause and pay attention to the feelings that ensue from the perceived action just by your mind visualizing the act.

Scenario A:

Your responsibilities for the day include meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and walking the dog. I know this is a short list, but it’s a short exercise 😉

  1. You get out of bed and drag yourself to the coffee maker, manage to pour yourself a cup of coffee and your kids begin to argue and demand your help with any number of tasks.

  2. You sigh heavily, maybe say a few choice words in your head, and put your coffee down to deliver your assistance to your children.

  3. You receive a text message from you friend asking if you could help her out today with a carpool

  4. You respond immediately upon hearing the ding released from your phone and agree to the carpool

  5. You manage to get dressed, teeth brushed, and hair combed.

  6. More kid demands while you are trying to inventory your grocery supply and what is needed at the store. This task takes 20 minutes more than you had anticipated and it is still incomplete.

  7. You get your kids into the van and hurriedly through the store with many things in your bags that you had not planned for and stressed from addressing all of the kids’ questions, behavior outbursts, and general “can I get this?” around every corner.

  8. It’s not even noon, but you feel exhausted. You reach for the coffee on the counter that you left before getting dressed. It’s stone cold, you reheat it, only to put it back down because you need to unbag your groceries and start lunch.

  9. Your day continues in this manner as you prepare meals and get the dog walked. The whole time you feel agitated and rushed. You wonder when you will have time to sit down and find peace. You look forward to bedtime when you can say goodnight to your children and maybe read a few pages of a book you’ve really wanted to read.

Scenario B:

Your responsibilities for the day include meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and walking the dog.

  1. You set your alarm at a time when you know you’ll have at least 30 minutes of reliable time before your kids are awake. You rise, do some stretching, dress, and get a cup of coffee. You have finished your cup of coffee by the time your children have started to ask you questions.

  2. When you’ve determined you need some quiet time to focus on meal planning for the week, you tell your kids that you need some time and space for this activity and you close a door between you and them.

  3. Even if you are bothered during this time, you are setting up the boundary that you require time apart from them and that when you are finished, you will let them know. If your children are very young and you are unable to communicate this with them through words, you do so through actions and plan around their naps when it’s more likely that you have some built in quiet opportunities.

  4. You receive a text from your friend asking for your help in carpooling. You hear the ding from your phone, but you do not respond because you are in a focused activity that you will see through.

  5. Once you feel adequately prepared for the shopping trip, you are able to approach the trip with a confident mind set because you know what you’re getting. You may choose to look at your text now, but may not respond immediately. You get to choose how much time you need to answer the question based on what you have in store for your day and how it works for you.

  6. You review expectations of your children during the shopping trip and you execute.

  7. Back at home you unload the groceries and outline the activities/duties/jobs that your children can partake with in this process.

  8. Your day continues in this manner with you making opportunities and space for quiet time for yourself to be mindful of your actions and more present with those around you. When you do this you feel more in control of your day and more empowered to give your best self to your responsibilities.

How did that feel?

While giving to others is crucial, you can see and feel, that it is important to acknowledge yourself and care for that one human that you will be with for your entire life. It’s a big deal! Then and only then are you capable to think of others and share your beautiful spirit in gift giving. You need to feel yourself light up first before you can pass that on to another.

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