The Dilemma of Gift Giving…And Receiving

Virginia Barkley (Business Heroine Magazine)

Gifts given from dear friends, and that have never been used, are the category of item that I consistently come across with clients who are in the midst of streamlining their homes. Have you ever received a gift that you knew was given with the best of intentions but you didnʼt have a clue how to use it, where to display it, or what to do with it? This creates a dilemma because our fear is that by giving the gift away we are disrespecting the friendship, and therefore, we choose to store it…for years. Most of the time, it remains unused and forgotten, but kept.

Three key thoughts come to mind in this scenario.

Number 1: Most of us at some time or another have stressed over what gift to give a friend or family member.

Number 2: The height of joy in gift giving is the moment of giving when several emotions are peaked such as love, surprise, and joy.

Number 3: The greatest demonstration of friendship comes when we show appreciation for receiving the gift regardless of its relevance.

Itʼs human nature to want to be recognized and seen as giving value, and our grateful acknowledgment for the efforts of others is much more profound than what we do with the gift. Gift giving is less about the thing and more about communion among friends, underscoring belongingness.

Acknowledgment and appreciation of our own good deeds is just as important; both nurture our sense of safety and acceptance. The danger in holding onto these unused gifts is that this action (or inaction depending on how you look at it) triggers feelings of guilt over being a bad friend for never using the item; or worse, fear that the gift giver will find out the gift was donated, both of which undermine our own sense of value and safety. Meanwhile, ten years have passed and your friend has long forgotten what sheʼs given you, and would hate to be the source of any guilt or fear that you are harboring. The truth is that friendship is much bigger than the gifts we pass between each other. Give yourself a break. Say thank-you. Own your space and your power.

I believe the gift of an experience is the gift that keeps on giving because memories are created. My father just celebrated his eightieth birthday, so I hosted a dinner party with he and his three best friends and coordinated to have my sisters fly in to surprise him. What thing could I give to him on his eightieth birthday that could compare?

There are countless ways to create living memories.  For example, consider making miniature lemon pound cakes or some other holiday treat that family and friends can enjoy in the season.
While technology and its marketers persuade us to believe that communication is easier among us, I believe what is being lost is the human element of sharing the energy of emotion which is difficult, if not impossible, to communicate through text, email, or other social media outlets. Perhaps one high touch gift we can all consider is committing to talk live more regularly to those we love.

For it is in the loving of one another rather than things that fills our souls with a deep sense of abundance.

Until next time, bust your clutter and increase your joy!

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