We all know that the economy isn’t so great for many people. Many are cutting back on spending. With the season of gift-giving bearing down on us, it’s good to think about gifts that don’t cost anything but that can be a blessing to others, and to yourself. I was thinking about things that make me happy to receive and to give and shall share them here:
Compliments?: A kind word to someone can brighten their day. Expressing appreciation for how someone looks or something they did can be a tonic for many. While I have great self-esteem now, I still love when someone has complimentary words for how I look. You might not think it but men love compliments too! We often give them more to women but everyone likes to feel appreciated or know that you recognize their good qualities. So be generous about letting people know what you like about them.
Heartfelt thank yous: Nobody likes to be taken for granted. Often we just expect people in our lives to do the things they do for us and don’t stop to let them know we appreciate it. You might not actually feel appreciation if you take someone for granted. But you should! ?Expressing appreciation for what others do is a form of gratitude, and gratitude brings many gifts. Think about what people in your life do for you and tell them it isn’t unnoticed.
Sending a handwritten note in this age of quickly written emails makes you stand out and is usually valued by the recipient. I still remember people who sent me a personal thank you note in the mail after hearing me speak. Notes matter! Send a card to your mom or a friend when it isn’t an occasion, just to say they’re special. That can be better than anything you buy.
Active listening?: There’s listening—being there, nodding appropriately but not really processing what’s being said as you wait for your turn to speak. And then there’s listening with respect and caring. The latter is a gift. When someone comes to you with a serious concern, make listening about them only. Ask questions to show you’re paying full attention. Let them know you care and are willing to put your personal thoughts aside to give them your full focus. This is a gift that will bring you great rewards in return!
Love: I don’t mean romantic love or the deep love you have for family, though that’s good too. Be a loving kind of person to others—warm, friendly, caring. I love being that way. ?I hug people a lot. Most know to expect one for hello and goodbye. I have a friend who is very undemonstrative. She didn’t have much love growing up and has a hard time expressing it. Whenever I’d go to give her a hug she’d stiffen up and didn’t quite hug me in return. Her hands would just kind of pat my back. I thought it made her uncomfortable so once when saying goodbye, I didn’t reach out to hug her. Surprisingly, she came forward with her arms out, waiting for one. She didn’t know how to receive love but liked the hugs just the same. Hugs are very therapeutic for everyone.
Support: A wonderful gift is to give support that THE PERSON needs. I emphasized THE PERSON because often people offer the support they think the person needs, or that they want to give. Men get into trouble with their romantic partner when they try to tell them how to fix a problem instead of just offering supportive words or asking, “What do you need from me?” Many folks give what according to their own agendas. When my mom passed away suddenly from an accident, one friend kept calling me, asking sadly how I was doing. Her whole attitude was negative.
I explained I’d rather she call less. I’d be counting the blessings about my Mom, feeling grateful for my wonderful memories, and she’d call and depress me. She drove me so crazy that I had to tell her that she was the cause of me feeling down. She indignantly said that if it were her, she’d want people to hover. But I wasn’t her and had to eventually get mean to stop her depressing calls. Letting someone know you’re there if needed is often support enough. While I’ve never called my neighbor who said I could call even in the middle of the night if I had a problem, I feel good knowing I can.
Smiles. Smiling and a cheerful demeanor put people into good moods. It will put you into a better mood too! BE generous with smiles and an upbeat mood.
Time. Making time to spend with those you care about can be the biggest gift of all. Often we’re so busy we forget to visit friends and loved ones or postpone calling them and they feel neglected, even if they don’t tell you. Studies show that good relationships with others can give the biggest positive boost to your health. Making time allows you to feel the love too! It also helps you to prevent regrets if something happens to a loved one.
These gifts will enrich the lives of those on the receiving end and enrich yours too! Think about who you can give these gifts from the heart to. And for ideas for material gifts to give, you can check out my blog post from last year—Giving Gifts that Nurture People & Our Planet—where I reviewed some wonderful products that nurture. And don’t forget to do or get something(s) special for YOU!
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