Monday Motivation: The Secret to Living is Giving


Good Morning; it is Monday 😊! We are beginning the first full week of December. Instead of feeling “out of breath” because of what lies ahead of you this week and this month, “just breathe”. Be present; feel, engage in, and experience fully living every moment. The only moment available to each of us is the present moment, and it is the door to every other moment. Every morning that we wake up; we are given 24 hours - what a precious gift!

As I began to think about the weeks ahead, I made a conscious decision that I want to pause, think about the season and contemplate more deeply the ways that I choose to engage in and experience the season this year. One of the decisions I made is to think and write about a word/concept each of the next 3 weeks in the context of the holiday season, that will help me focus and reflect on the reason for the season. For this week, I chose “Gift Giving”.

When we think about “giving”, many times our mind races to purchasing “things” for those on our holiday list. With all the pressures that we place upon ourselves during this time of year, this experience of “gift giving” can become seemingly much less joyful. I am sure this experience has happened to each of us at one time or another; probably so much so, that we wished we could stop this tradition altogether citing some nobler cause, “that it is just too materialistic”. However, by jumping to this conclusion, we may be missing out on important human interactions with others that help define more deeply our relationships and strengthen our connections and bonds with the people in our lives. Harvard researcher, psychologist and professor, Dr. Ellen Langer, states that the biggest impact of gift giving is on ourselves. Giving to others reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel more effective and caring. The giver, most often, reaps the biggest psychological gains.

Giving gifts allows us to show the recipients of our gifts that we care about them and we are grateful for the role that they play in our life. It is not the “price tag” of the gift that matters. It does not have to be something that you purchased on line or in a department store (but it certainly can be). You should not forget about those gifts you can give such as spending quality time with someone you care about, a personal connection, a thoughtful deed that you can do for someone, etc. When you have received these gifts of “experiences”, I am sure they have had significant meaning for you, and they have touched your life and heart in unique ways. Now, you may think I am being “too sappy” by suggesting that you think about giving these types of gifts; but, remember how you felt when you received them? Then, ask yourself, “is that sappy?”

An example of a wonderful gift given to those driving on I-35 in MN is Jerry’s Tree. Below is a link to a you tube video about the gift of “Jerry’s Tree”, a beautiful lighted Oak Tree by Faribault, MN. A “shining” example of gift given by a someone to passers-by that has had a wonderful impact on both the giver and the receivers, spreading tons of joy to those who “experience” it.

This holiday season as you are out and about purchasing the perfect gift for those on your list, do not forget that one of the most precious and beautiful gifts you can give is the gift of yourself. Do not underestimate the power of YOU. In addition to the gifts you are purchasing, remember to give the gift of experiences too. Here are some thoughts:

  • Connect with people in any small way – a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, a good deed – social connection is critical for health and well-being. Today people are feeling more isolated than ever. Be there for others; remembering, the small things are really the big things.

  • Listen – be fully present. Listen attentively to others. Understand their perspectives. Really connect with each other.

  • Spend time with others – go to the movies, go to the spa together, cook a meal together, read a book together, play board games, spend time outside together doing an activity, etc. By giving experiences, you are giving a part of YOU; you are connecting with others and creating fond memories that you can look back on and smile 😊

Enrich your holiday season with caring, connection and kindness. Life consists of thousands of tiny miracles each day; look for them, create them, make them part of your story. You never know; some days you get more “wonderfulness” than you expected.

Make today your dance floor. Have a great day and a great week!

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