This is the best gift we can give the people we love
The holidays are around the corner. Holiday shopping will soon be in full swing.
Before we get there, here’s what I think may be the absolute best gift we can give the people we love: The space and acceptance to be completely themselves.
I think of it like this: You do you. Be you. Live your life and follow your heart. I want you to be whole, entirely yourself, full of self-esteem, and I will receive you with loving and open arms — always.
It sounds simplistic, but this pure way of relating to each other often gets muddied up.
We put all kinds of expectations on other people, especially family.
We impress on where they should live. Who they should be with. Where they should work. What they should and shouldn’t do. How in-touch they should be.
Sometimes this is explicit, other times it’s more under the surface. Either way, it takes a toll on everyone involved, and the relationship suffers, too.
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I haven’t always gotten this right. But as I’ve recognized how pure acceptance (particularly of the things I don’t really like) is fundamental, I’ve committed myself to being the kind of mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend that takes it seriously.
I want to give my people space, freedom and unconditional support to boldly be their best selves. I don’t need anything from them. Sure, I have hopes and desires, but all I really need is for them to be as good as they can possibly be.
In many ways, this “gift” is so fundamental that it’s really more of a right, but I think it’s a common area for blind spots. So, recognizing when and where we overstep and adjusting as needed is a noteworthy offering of love and grace.
To be clear, this does not mean sharing honest impressions and hopes for someone else is off the table. It doesn’t mean opinions are bad and communication should be guarded. It just can’t needy or burdensome. Healthy relationships involve sharing with some remove and no attachment to the outcome. They have boundaries.
The good news is it’s never too late to start giving this gift.
And I think it may also be the greatest gift we can give ourselves, so that’s actually a great place to start.
Could you be more accepting in your own internal space? Could you be more open to your feelings and accepting of your imperfections and flaws? Through all the big and little highs and lows, could you allow life to unfold with less resistance?
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This is the essence of the gift, and it’s a wonderful place to begin. Welcome the moment as it is, especially when it’s less than ideal.
This holiday season, I’ll surely be buying a few toy trucks and Dr. Seuss books for our little ones. I’ll also be telling my husband about a bracelet that’s caught my eye and trying to figure out what he’d like that he hasn’t already bought himself.
But all the while, I’ll be keeping this more important gift close to my heart. Offering acceptance will be my main objective.
And that’s always in season.
Marci Izard Sharif is an author, yoga teacher, meditation facilitator, and mother. In Feeling Matters, she writes about self-love, sharing self-care tools, stories and resources that center around knowing and being kind to yourself. For her classes and more, go to marcisharif.com.