The True Spirit of Giving

The True Spirit of Giving

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

— Albert Camus

 

It’s the most magical time, of the year when we are reminded of gratitude and togetherness. It is also a time when we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle and material aspects of the holiday season. I am always surprised by the amount of attention given to Black Friday and the race to consume. I spent years falling into the rhythm of it all until I began to question this annual automatic impulse to buy and spend. Why are we so compelled to honor the holidays and validate our relationships with the latest and greatest trending gifts and gadgets? We scramble to find the perfect symbol of our love and appreciation in hopes that it will be exuberantly received.

We all find personal gratification in gift giving and receiving but, have you ever found yourself in a place where you were giving gifts out of obligation and with negative emotions emerging around the expectations of it all? A few years ago, I had a realization that this is the time of year when I want to hold my loved ones close and celebrate the blessings in our lives. I was ready to stop marking December as a call to action to making the list and checking it twice.

Don’t get me wrong, giving is good for us! When we give, we have a visceral response because our brains and bodies are naturally wired to feel the connectedness that comes with it. The act of giving produces hormones that help to improve mental health, lower stress, and impact overall well-being in a positive way. Giving, after all, is love in action and love is the common thread that runs through every human being. Love is our true nature and the real secret ingredient in giving is to do it with no sense of obligation or expectation in return.

This mindset changed my behaviors to be giving more of myself — to give simply for the joy of giving, when I was inspired to do so and, not just for holidays. I knew it was more meaningful for me to give my attention, my time, or my kindness in the way of a warm hug or a smile. So now, rather than jump into automatic replay mode when I see the first sign of the holidays approaching, I more mindfully consider what small acts I can take to improve someone’s day. What moments can I change by reaching out to someone who is feeling sad, depleted, or hopeless? How can my actions improve the way they are experiencing day-to-day life? A simple acknowledgment of care and affection can really make a difference!

Perhaps the best presents we can extend to others is our actual presence by being here now with the people we love…sharing a meal together, sitting by the fire, swapping stories, and feeling the energy of connectedness in each and every moment. That is when our heart finds its way back to the true spirit of giving and peace.

 

High Vibes + Grateful Heart ! XO, Jenn