It is that time of year when ‘gift giving’ is the season.
Every year, this old saying circulates, “It’s the thought that counts.”
Yes, this is true, but have you ever asked yourself when giving or receiving a gift, what that “thought” actually is saying?
Let’s say you are giving a gift to a friend or relative. Ask yourself if you are giving a gift to them which actually resonates with the person they believe they really are (their perception), or merely whom you think they are (your perception).
You probably haven’t given your gift giving much thought in these terms, and chances are, they haven’t given the idea of receiving a gift much thought in these terms either… unless of course they wish to return your gift.
These “LINKS” are embedded in our own self-identity of how we see ourselves, what we project as what we wish for others to see us as, and of course their own interpretation of what they observe. Inside somewhere lies the truth.
We call “Projected LINKS” as links within our life chain of what we choose to present to the outside world vs. what the reality is for our internal one.
Does this sound a little too deep for the season?
If it does, then have you ever wondered why “RETURNS” and “EXCHANGES” happen in mass abundance in the retail world every year in the same ratio as the gift purchasing number of items?
Have you ever received a ‘re-gifted’ item or given a ‘re-gifted’ item?
Have you ever wondered WHY this is?
This all traces back to your own personal PROJECTED LINKS AND YOUR OWN PERCEPTION.
Don't believe this? Ask yourself..."Why am I giving this gift?" vs. "Why am I receiving this gift?" and you will find yourself in a new place of introspection instead of operating on holiday season "automatic pilot" of going through the motions of presents and instead you will be in the literal PRESENT MOMENT.
If you claim you are a sports enthusiast, you are projecting that you like all sports unless you specify which one, and narrow that down even further to which individual sport, or specific team or league. Without details or specifics, you may receive a football for Christmas, when you’re really a baseball fan. If you are a baseball fan, maybe you prefer the Angels to the Dodgers, however, no one may know just how detailed your likes/dislikes are unless you clarify.
If you say you like cooking, you may receive a bunch of gadgets you may never use if you are merely a griller or a baker and not necessary a cooking generalist. If you don’t eat any dairy or gluten, chances are receiving a pizza stone is not going to be received well, if you have not clarified specifics of your dietary issues or interests.
When you state and declare who you are AS YOU ARE EVOLVING AND CHANGING to your outside world or immediate circle, it may not be in detail of who you are or all that you are, though without detailed communications our perceived self vs. projected self are two different people.
The reality is – WE ALL CHANGE. We are thrown thousands of pieces of information daily. We educate ourselves. We learn, grow and we try new things. Sometimes we stay stuck in old habits of our “default” answers for hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes.
We don’t often “check in” with ourselves to ASK THE QUESTION…
“Is this statement still true anymore?”
Moving on to new interests and hobbies is normal. However, re-evaluation of all the many things which make up who we are is not a habit we identify with as a routine exercise we put ourselves through.
At this point, gift giving and receiving takes on a whole new world of idealized views of the people around us as much as it has to do with the person inside of us.
Our projected links of our own lifeline are also affected by TIME.
If you had an interest in model airplanes or knitting when you were in middle school, and no longer have this interest, but the gift giver only still sees you as “this person” – chances are there has been some sort of gap in communications and interaction.
Is this your fault? The answer is Yes and No… and it is usually both, depending on the course of time and frequency of interaction as much as it has to do with detailed “listening” vs. “hearing” and taking interest in sharing, which is a two-way street.
As you take time to enjoy your holiday season just remember – yes, it is the thought that counts.
However, you may want to give more thought to the quality of your relationships, connection, communication as well as self-knowledge and projection of truth in your evolution before you dare criticize any gifts received.
The same can be said in the hands of the gift-giver.
How much thought do you give to exploring the depths of how the gift you give will be received?
How much time and effort goes into really “knowing” the person you are giving something to vs. simply a kind gesture?
What does the gift you give, say about you?
Does it say you are a good listener?
Does it say you are observant?
What about thoughtfulness? How do you ‘define’ thoughtful?
Let’s say you are asked to purchase an unwrapped toy to give away at a toy drive to an underprivileged child you do not know. What gift will you give this child who is a stranger?
Do you automatically choose to give a toy specified for a boy or girl?
Do you give a gift which could be for either? (a game, toy or book?)
Do you give a gift that is merely the hottest trend? Or do you give a gift that is a classic?
Are you paying attention to the age-range of the toy?
Is the toy fun for the long-term? Or is it a quick-fix toy where a child could get bored easily?
Does the toy teach the child anything? Is it educational?
Does the toy spark creativity or motor skills? What about the toy helps a child grow and expand their way of thinking…. Say a puzzle or building block toy for spatial reasoning or maybe a memory game?
Does the toy promote violence? (i.e.swords, guns, or video game killing?)
Does the toy provoke love and caring (i.e. a stuffed animal or doll?)
Is the toy dangerous? (i.e. small pieces/choking hazard, unsafe plastics, lead?)
Does the toy invite a child’s friend to play with them? (i.e. a Frisbee, basketball or board game?)
Or do you merely purchase the toy as something you think that YOU would have liked to receive as a child?
Are you the kind of gift-giver who chooses a gift thinking of the parent or guardian in mind for their approval if you are a parent, too?
This may sound like a lot to think about, but how would this child (a stranger) perceive you as the gift giver? How do you perceive them as the recipient?
While the holiday season is hectic and busy, for many it is a time of reflection, re-evaluation of one’s self, the past year, and looking ahead to a renewed sense of being for the New Year.
Perhaps it is in re-evaluation of our perception, we might be able to take stock in the opportunity for growth and renewal in how we project our own link to our idea of how we give and receive in sharing who we are, what we think about and how we share those thoughts in our gifts.
If you give thought to both sides of gifting, your LINKS OF PERCEPTION vs. your LINKS OF PROJECTION can help you expand your generosity and how you utilize your thought process in gift giving… giving a whole new meaning to “It’s the thought that counts.”