Often times in life people try to be things they aren’t, not necessarily on purpose, but they try to be perfect, they are scared of being who they really are, or scared of rejection. Sometimes I think we (yes me included – everybody – human nature) sometimes overcompensates and goes overboard to impress other people, especially the people that we love. Sometimes thats an amazing and wonderful thing and one of the best parts about life, giving to others, surprising them, making them happy like that. Other times, doing it to the extreme, all the time, 24/7, means things end prematurely because you can’t keep up, it becomes expected, its not the real you, or you simply don’t have the resources, or you come to think that thats whats expected of you, or they come to expect it. Things burn out, or there builds up a constant environment of tension of trying to be perfect and you can’t be – so it leads to failure.
What is funny about trying to be perfect, giving expensive and flashy and large gifts, and trying to meet the needs of others, is we often ignore what makes people truly happy, or what they would be happier with. A whole bunch of smaller gestures and gifts, being yourself and not trying so hard is so much better than huge gifts and a shot at perfection – as the latter is wonderful, but only for a short period of time before it burns out. The former, builds up and gets better and builds into something long lasting. It can be maintained and be consistent.
So with that, besides, yes some surprises and wonderful things along the way, (not too many) sometimes the best gifts in life are and should be free – sometimes I think we forget. The ones that cost us nothing – sometimes its someone elses simple smile, an errand they did for you without asking, bringing you home a candybar without thinking about it because they put it in their basket at the store and knew you liked it, cooked your favorite meal, remembered a special occasion, sent you a text message to make you smile, saving a clipping from the newspaper because it seemed relevant, doing up a chart or graph to help a friend at the gym because they need extra motivation or to get on track without being asked, finding a cheap little toy for Easter that cost not much but was hard to find from their childhood, surprising someone on a trip with a memento of the trip that cost not much but had lots of meaning, or called just to say they cared, or simply were there with you giving their time and themselves in whatever you were doing. Sometimes the best gifts in life are free. I saw this "clipping" I had saved from years ago in my "folder" that I referenced in my blog from the weekend, I thought it was nice to post. It doesn’t say who wrote it – but it looks to be clipped from some magazine. Enjoy.
"Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent"
** The GIFT OF LISTENING
But you must REALLY listen, No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.
** The GIFT OF AFFECTION
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.
** The GIFT OF LAUGHTER
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, I love to laugh with you.
** The GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE
It can be simple. Thanks for the help note, or a full sonnet. Something to say a message when you aren’t around but to say you are thinking of them. A brief handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and maybe even might change a life. It showed you cared more than a call or passing word.
** The GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT
A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job" or "That was a wonder meal!" can make someone’s day.
** The GIFT OF TALKING
Saying what is on our minds and in our hearts is a powerful tool. Think about what you mean inside and express yourself, or say you have not all the answers, but speak the truth. It is a greater gift than money can buy. Never be silent to those you love as they might not be listening tomorrow or you can’t change your words.
** The GIFT OF A FAVOR
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
** The GIFT OF SOLITUDE
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to those times and give the gift of solitude to others. When you need it yourself be respectful and loving in how you communicate it.
** The GIFT OF CHEERFUL DISPOSITION
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really its not that hard to say, hello, good bye, or thank you. Sometimes its a greater gift when its a tough time, or to those who mean little to you but to those who mean something to those you love.