When Giving Goes Bad. The Art of Soulful Giving

Most people have an imbalance with giving and/or receiving. 

For some, receiving can churn up issues around self worth.  "On no, really, I don't deserve it." Or, "Thanks (Fake smile knowing they want something in exchange and it was never about you).  "No. no.  Don't get me anything, I don't want anything."

For others, giving can churn up fear about scarcity. "I don't have enough to give."  Or "If I give, then I won't have enough." Or, "I am not creative enough to give anything good." 

Let me explain the pitfalls of giving.

There are three types of Bad Giving to avoid this Holiday.

1.  The Manic Giver.  This giver gives time, money, thought and energy to a vast group of people without taking care of themselves.  The "high" that the Manic Giver gets is from the verbal validation that they are "good."  The risky bit with this giver is that they haven't learned to self-validate and therefore tirelessly seek validation from the external world while their own needs go unknown and unmet.  Eventually the validation won't be enough and they will give and give and give until they crash and can no longer give at all.

2.  The Grumpy Giver.  This giver gives out of obligation.  There are expectations to uphold and with the precision of an Army General, the grumpy giver will check all of the boxes off on the "Christmas Project Plan."  The risky bit with this giver is that they have lost the soul of giving and diminished giving to a social transaction devoid of meaning and heart.  When the holidays are over, they will grumble about the money spent, slug a bourbon and look forward to work starting again.

3.  The 'Prime' Giver.  This giver gives only what is on the list.  They hit Amazon Prime on Monday and by Thursday all the shopping is done.  If there is no list, then the motto, "What is good for one, is good for all." is enacted.  This giver, while efficient, lacks soulfulness and runs the risk of making the holiday about happiness through consumerism.  Rather than through human connection.

To suck the nog out of this time of year, take some time to give from the heart to the people that mean the most to you.  It is OK to give personal notes of love and gratitude to those important to you and skip the stuff.  The connection you make sharing those thoughts will have more meaning than any other gift.

In the end, we remember how people make us feel, not the quality of the wrapping paper or gift that was given.  If something from Amazon, will create good feelings, then go for it.  If you are checking boxes in the project plan then you can do better things with your time.  

If you find an object that reminds them of their power, their compassionate nature, their strength, their dreams or their hopes, then that gift will put the twinkle in their toes! 

Put some thought into it, but not TOO much thought.

Conversely, if you are spending late nights surfing Pinterest and eating Cheetos looking for the perfect soulful, personal gift for everyone on your list, then you are sliding into the danger zone.  If you are not taking time to sleep, meditate, hug others, talk with loved ones over tea, then you are doomed.  

When your maniacal Pinterest frenzie takes over, your relationships will likely suffer.  Which is SO the opposite of what winter time is all about.  When it's cold, its natural to get closer to people.  So let's get started.  Give yourself permission to get real and spread some good old fashioned messy love over egg nog and conversation rather than ignoring everyone in your life to make 937 home made glitter cake pops.


Natalie GriffinComment