Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Giving With Your Whole Heart

I love receiving surprises and gifts, don't you? More than receiving them, I really love giving special presents to friends and family especially unexpected ones when they are least expected. I enjoy the process of finding the perfect item, wrapping it up in pretty paper with some ribbon or finding the perfect gift bag and making or searching for a special card to go along with it.

My favorite part is watching someone open their gift and seeing their expression or reaction. I love to shop for inexpensive llittle treasures and tend to purchase things that friends would go crazy over and is just perfectly 'them'. Sometimes I save them up for their birthday or Christmas but I think the element of the surprise is so much more fun.

I don't do this because I expect anything in return, it just feels good and it makes my heart happy. But I realize that not everyone feels this way about gift giving. It's a shame really how many people I've heard say, 'Ugh, I have to go buy a gift for so-and-so's baby shower, wedding, graduation or fill-in-the-blank. Gift giving shouldn't feel like a chore or an obligation, it should be a fun experience and should be about celebrating the other person who will be on the receiving end. With everyone leading such busy lives and cramming so much into a day, it's not surprising that many things could start to feel more like work when they should be fun.

Last week I spoke to a woman who I hadn't seen in a while and in conversation she remarked, 'You know, I bought _____ a gift for her birthday and never even so much as received a thank you. Don't you think that's rude?' I was surprised to hear it as most people at least verbally acknowlege the gift giver upon opening but in this case it was a large in-home party and gifts were left on a table for the birthday girl to open after everyone had left, so it was a different dynamic. While etiquette would call for such a reply as well as a proper follow-up thank you note for not only attending the party but providing a gift, not everyone follows proper manners and etiquette. We can't become upset and completely outraged when someone doesn't respond the way we expected or hoped they would. The truth is that gift-giving shouldn't involve any expectations whatsoever.

To 'give' means to give whole-heartedly, to give without expecting anything in return-not a thank you, not a note card, not a gift in return-nothing! To give is to truly do so because you want to regardless of the outcome. It shouldn't be something to talk about or gossip about later. You should never feel the need to second guess your gift either. If you truly believed that it was from your heart, was within your budget and you selected it especially for them, all you can ever do is your best, the rest is out of your hands.

I've certainly been guilty of giving out of obligation in the past, (certain office baby showers for co-workers I didn't know very well come to mind). However, the important thing to remember is that if you decide to give it should be because you desire to, not because you feel you're supposed to, because everyone else will be or because you're looking for a certain response to make yourself feel good.

If this has been your experience at times with gift giving I encourage you to be very intentional about your gift giving and see how different you feel afterwards.

What's the best 'just because' gift you were able to give to someone or that you received? What made it so special to you? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Just a reminder~I have a little gift that I am looking forward to giving to 2 special readers, if you haven't entered our current giveaway, you can find it HERE. We only have a few entries so far so your odds of winning are pretty good. ;)

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