Everywhere I look right now I see messages about gift giving. Every day my in-box is overloaded with all the best things to buy. It is so difficult not to succumb to the allure of all these ads and bargains.
Thankfully, rather than whipping out my charge card… it got me thinking about the priceless gifts we give to others and ourselves throughout the year. Long after these gifts have been unwrapped, they keep giving all year long. They don’t break, wear out, or go out of fashion. They can be both given and received.
With the approach of a new year, my retrospective is to look back on the gifts that had the most impact on what I have learned in 2015. They are the presents I will take with me into 2016 with the hope that they will stand by me as they did this year and bring me a new year of growing and learning.
These Top Ten Gifts are especially meaningful in times of change. Whether it is healing from divorce or the loss of a loved one, career transition, retirement, aging or recovery issues, using these gifts will create a bridge from where you are, to where you want to be.
You can feel free to open them and use them in order or not. They work well in lots of different combinations and you will never have to worry about their colors clashing! One by one, or a few at a time… whatever fits for you, they have great potential for creating a new path of understanding, healing and moving forward.
TOP TEN GIFTS
1. Letting Go
Yes, you’ve heard me talk about this quite a bit! Moving on to embracing a new stage in life is about letting go of where we have been. It might be letting go of your job when you find yourself laid off or in the process of retiring. If you are going through a divorce, it could be letting go of your life as couple. Moving forward also means letting go of your expectations of the way you thought things would turn out or how you wanted people in your life to be.
When we blame ourselves or others for our life circumstances we get stuck in a fruitless blame game. The door to new possibilities is closed to us if we can’t surrender our need to hold onto self-defeating messages or staying stuck in being a victim.
3. Self Care
When we feel depleted, depressed, stressed and anxious about what we are going through, thinking of the importance of self care is usually not at the top of our priority list. This puts us in jeopardy of feeling even worse than we already do! Physical activity, healthy eating and adequate sleep strengthens us to be able to deal with tough times.
The importance of setting boundaries goes hand in hand with taking care of oneself! Saying NO is the gift of NOT taking on more than we can handle or what is really NOT ours to take care of.
5. Support System
We all need a support system of nonjudgemental friends, family or professionals who are there to listen and truly hear us. In this atmosphere of caring, we can feel empowered to sort through difficulties and regain our sense of direction.
Get to know your inner source of resilience, so you can draw upon it when in need. Hope, faith, and determination are all parts of that resilience. Get to know those traits that will help you walk through loss, grief and change.
Using humor to lighten the load of what you are carrying is very important. Allow yourself a whole hearted belly laugh and feel some of the weight of your transition lift and give you a much needed break!
Our awareness of self, others and of the world around us can help us refocus and reframe our situation and help transform a scene of doom and gloom into one of possibility and hope.
Self compassion and love for ourselves and for others is a life affirming gift that we all need!
10. Meaning and Vision
With self-compassion and love, finding meaning and vision in our lives becomes less overwhelming. We can open up to being able to make choices that put us on a path of learning, healing, growth and fulfillment.
So Dear Readers, in this season of giving, my hope is that you will give yourself as many of these Top Ten Gifts as you can from this day forward and into the New Year! Wishing you a New Year of Healing and Fulfilling New Beginnings!