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The saying “It is better to give than to receive” is a universal truth. But how often do we remember that we can also be on the receiving end? Around the holiday season, our schedules are busy with events and buying presents for others. Many times, we drain our energy and feel obligations to go to the parties and match gifts we receive. However, the true meaning of the season is to give back and spend time with our loved ones. Imagine being fully relaxed and in the moment of smelling our favorite cookies baking in the oven, listening to laughter and music and allowing time to fully settle into the sights, smells and sounds of this beautiful time of year.
Giving and receiving are part of the same cycle. This season, let’s take time to evaluate how we give to others, ourselves and to the community. Let’s vow to give ourselves gifts this year, to allow moving into next year with a sense of renewal and intentions for the best year ever.
This article provides some ideas to give back to others, and us this holiday season in a variety of giving categories.
Take the advice of Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Suggest to family and friends to substitute hand written letters to each other versus presents. This is a gift where we can take the opportunity to share our gratitude for those that mean the most.
Take time to truly connect at gatherings by spearheading a way to share successes and gratitude stories as a group. Ask everyone to write down a success and area of gratitude on a piece of paper and put in a basket. Have each person pick one and read someone’s experience. Focusing on all the good, will only bring more.
Adopt a child to give gifts to or donate to a local organization such as Toys for Tots or Cornerstones. Enlist friends and family to volunteer as a group versus having a holiday party. Giving back together can create strong and lasting bonds.
Say no to one obligation to allow for free time to do whatever you please.
Schedule a date of self-pampering. Do all the things you never have time for: read, watch a movie, take a bath, order take-out, cook dinner or sit by the fire. The idea is to recharge and relax.
Determine what you can let go of from your past that is holding you back. Write it down and throw it in the fire to release.
Evaluate travel plans to determine if there are any alternatives. For instance, do you drive three hours to visit with one side of the family, and then two hours another day to visit the other side of your family? Could you only make one of those trips? Schedule a visit for a later date when things are not so busy.
Evaluate your daily routine. Are there things you could simplify next year, like limiting the kid’s winter activities, or hiring a cleaning service? Ask yourself if there are things you can delegate, or minimize. Make a list. Writing it down allows you to see all that you juggle.
Practice gratitude versus complaining. Write, visualize and speak those elements about which you are truly grateful.
Throw away the New Year’s resolutions and decide to bring awareness to your daily habits. What emotions are driving decisions? Ask yourself which ones you would like to change and which ones are positive. Commit to improving one at a time. Simple awareness can lead to better and easier choices.
Hire a personal coach to help you create a crystal clear vision for “ultimate success” so you know exactly what you want, where you’re headed, and what you need to do to make it happen.
The more we take time to nurture that which we desire and take quality time for our personal needs, the more capacity we have to give back to others. Let’s make a decision to move forward with our best interests at heart. As Lao Tzu said:
“Those who value their own well-being equally with the rest of the world can be trusted with the world. Those who love their life as if it were the whole world will be trusted with all things under heaven.”
Kerry Wekelo is the Director of Operations at Actualize Consulting where her Leadership Training program has successfully influenced a teamwork environment at some of the world’s largest companies. Check out her firm’s website at actualizeconsulting.com or email her at [email protected].