This is the time of giving and, like every year at this time, most of us are balancing or even struggling to balance the gift giving.
Each year, this strikes me as odd. Isn’t true giving, after all, just about freely parting with something without expectations of receiving anything in return? Yet, the way we have set up our busy lives and Christmas in particular, with all the get-togethers and gift “obligations,” we can easily end up all stressed out or in debt—or both—due to a celebration which in its nature is not about materialistic considerations at all. How we handle Christmas gives us a good insight into how we handle life.
Are you a person who has everything planned out by October and with self-discipline tics off one present after the next from your list? Are you a last-minute shopper? Are you the one known for giving the perfect or the best presents? Does Christmas put you in the feeling space of “not having enough” money or time? Do you end up in debt after Christmas, having to cut out every other pleasure from your life for a few months afterwards? Is this perhaps how you choose to go through life in general?
One thing I hear from clients on a regular basis is, “I don’t get as much as I give”. This is not necessarily a comment restricted to celebrations and gift giving. They are talking about prime relationships, usually their partnership. What if you find yourself always over-giving, not just at Christmas but as a general life experience?
Does giving and receiving always have to be in balance? Should we only give when we receive? Of course not. There is great joy in giving, especially when somebody needs it, independent of what we get back from that one person. When we give to one person, the way the Universe and energy works is that it will come back to us from somewhere else. What goes around, comes around, in regards to anything we do. Do I treat people with consciousness and fairness, or am I out to hurt them? Do I freely give from the heart, or do I grudgingly buy something because I feel I have to?
Now, in the case of the person who says “I give more than I get back,” something is going wrong. Not because the giving and receiving is out of balance, but because of the feeling space of not being appreciated, of not getting what he or she needs in return.
The giving in this case by all means does not need to stop. Instead he or she needs to think about ways of giving to himself or herself as well. Only when we truly appreciate ourselves and without guilt take care of our needs, can we freely give to others. What might be out of balance is not how much we give and get, but how much we are able to open up to receiving.
Do you truly feel you deserve to receive good things? Can you start by giving time, compassion and little daily joys to yourself?
Does giving to others always mean it has to be expensive and potentially put me into financial trouble? Is a personal Christmas card with heartfelt words and some home baked cookies not worth much more than an expensive store-bought gift to the adults in our life? Is a big hug, encouraging loving words and spending quality time playing and laughing not worth more than the newest electronic toy to our children?
I think we all know the answer, yet we do not always seem to act on it. What subconscious beliefs are holding us back from giving meaningful and less expensive gifts rather than over-spending? If our beliefs don’t serve us, we can let go of them.
What if your family or friends have less money than you? I remember years ago in one of the earlier episodes of the TV show “Friends” some of the Friends had more money than others. The friends with less money felt embarrassed and pressured, when the Friends with more money were able to spend it freely on activities. What is a conscious way of handling a situation like that?
What do you do when your partner or friend has considerably less money than you? Can nobody go on vacation, or to the theatre, or a concert, or out for a nice dinner? Basically you have three conscious choices other than nobody gets to enjoy the activities life has to offer.
- You can go on vacation, to the theatre etc. by yourself or with another family member or friend.
- You can choose to pay for your partner or friend and enjoy time together. After all, money is just a means to an end.
- You can do something else with this person which is not dependent on finances.
Whichever decision you make, sit with it and feel it. Which one can you feel good about? If you cannot give and then let the money go, don’t pick choice #2, as your resentment impacts your experience as well as everybody elses.
Another question I would ask, is this situation of not having financial abundance a long-term, possibly life-long situation? If so, this person needs to change their subconscious beliefs about money, finances and prosperity. He or she might believe him/herself to be unable to make money, or keep/mange money, or to be undeserving of the freedom that money can buy. The list of limiting financial beliefs is almost endless. Most of them we are unaware of or truly believe that they are the “truth”.
If your approach to Giving, to Christmas and/or to Life in general works for you, good for you. If Christmas stresses you out, emotionally or financially, and you feel you have no time to rest, reflect or be, you can shift your beliefs and make changes to your life.
Belief Change Coaching