Last minute Christmas. It’s that time.
The rush, on the last few days, to find a gift for someone. Maybe you forgot. Maybe you have been busy. Maybe you couldn’t find your first choice gift. Maybe you didn’t think they would buy, but somewhat frustratingly they have, and it’s beautifully wrapped. Maybe you have been given something unexpectedly and feel the need to respond now. Maybe what you bought isn’t suitable. Not enough. Not right.
Christmas is a time for giving, so the saying goes. But is it? Really?
Are we perhaps really being our most selfish at this time? Is it more about our need? Our need to buy a gift that shows we know the person? Or that we care? Or that we didn’t forget? Do we, in point of fact, really give gifts for us? To make us feel good? To satisfy a value or need we have? Maybe we see ourselves as kind, thoughtful, loving, friendly. Perhaps. Or maybe it’s our need to be a friend, to be loved, thought of, our need to belong, to be treated kindly? Perhaps the act of giving makes us feel good in some other way?
Many years ago, when I began coaching, I considered working pro bono or for free. I had received coaching, seen the benefits, and wanted to coach selflessly, for free, so that other human beings might reap the rewards of coaching, enjoying life more, being more themselves, happier, more fulfilled, at peace.
I spoke with my own coach. He pointed out that actually I was doing this because it made me feel good. An act of giving that could literally change people’s lives, was in fact all about me. Selfish. My desire to free people to be at their best, really all about my needs.
He was right of course. It was a key realisation for me.
I wonder now, how much of our behaviour, our decisions, our choices are in fact for us. Even if they are ones of support or giving towards others?
Christmas seems to be a convenient opportunity for us to fulfil this selfish selflessness.
Have a joyous Christmas. Wherever you are, whomever you are with. By all means exchange gifts. The exchange is a bilateral selfish selflessness. Human. Healthy.
The best gift you can receive though, is increased awareness of your self. So reflect. Look inward. Understand and accept your true motivations. Give yourself something special this Christmas.
image by Gretchen Rubin