AND Recognize the Gift

December 14th, 2014

In several conversations this week, I was struck by the uniqueness of each story. We never really know what is going on in people’s lives until we pause to ask or allow ourselves to be open to hear and share. AND in this season of giving, we have the opportunity to recognize that what people seek may not match what we have to give, or vice versa.

Some people offer merriment, quick laughter, and spirited play as a way of sharing the holiday spirit. Others prefer to share a quiet moment, unmarred by what is experienced as noise. Some are dealing with loss and pain and have no more to give, while others want only to help spread good cheer and merriment.

It might be helpful for each of us to step back and appreciate the intention, even if we might not truly appreciate the gesture. When we want quiet, and someone brings exuberance, we could respond by trying to squelch or subdue the merriment, or step back to appreciate the desire and ability of some to celebrate with abandon.

AND if your natural style is merriment, consider stepping back to notice whether others appreciate the gift. Not engaging or choosing to smile and say nothing can be ways of not disrupting others merriment, while signaling the choice not to participate. Some have a great capacity to give, others to receive. Both are gifts. AND gifts are only gifts if they arrive with no expectations, no strings attached, and no judgment.

A gift is given freely. If another does not receive it as hoped, celebrate that you have given a gift and let it go. We can be easily disappointed by expectations we have about acceptable responses to our gestures, offerings, or gifts. Perhaps a more generous response is to accept whatever response is given as a gift, since acceptance signals no strings attached.

A little less judgment and a little more acceptance can help people to feel that their gift is recognized. And it won’t hurt any of us pause to recognize the gift…if only to do so silently in the privacy of our own hearts.

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