Guilt Over Gifts

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Guilt over gifts

How to Have a More Joyful Gift-Giving Experience

It’s the season of gift giving and this could either be stressful or joyful - both for the giver and receiver. 

Let’s first tackle about the stress that gift giving usually gives people. For the giver,we put a lot of thought and effort into finding the best gift to our friends and loved ones because we wanted them to be pleased and happy. We stress about how the receiver will react when they receive the gift. Will they like it? What will they think about my gift? Is this enough to show my appreciation to them? 

Then for the receiver, the most stressful part is receiving a gift that we don’t like and not knowing what to do with it. The usual tendency is of course to just keep it until it becomes clutter in our own homes.

 Guilt is always the prevailing feeling whenever we want to discard an unwanted gift. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Gift giving is a joyful act that both the giver and receiver deserve to experience.

I remember a time when I got really upset when I learned that my mom decided to give away a bag I’ve given her for mother’s day.  I saved up for that bag and carefully searched through stores for the best I can find. I broke down in tears as I told her about how I felt. My mom wiped away the tears from my face and told me something which changed my perspective about gift-giving.  

She told me that she’s giving away my gift simply because it’s not her style, and it would be such a waste to keep it if she’ll not be able to use it. Then she held my hand and told me that even though she didn’t like the gift itself, she felt how much loved and appreciated she was through my gift. After our heartfelt conversation, I felt totally  okay for her to do whatever she wanted with my gift. I didn’t want her to feel burdened of keeping something she didn’t like, and feel guilty of letting it go just because it came from me.

 Since then, it was a lot easier for me to give her gifts. Seeing the joy in her eyes when she received my gifts was enough to tell me that I’ve made her feel loved and appreciated. What she does with the gift after doesn’t really matter anymore.

This experience made me realize a lot about gift giving and the guilt that comes with it often. Hoping below pointers can help you give and receive gifts this season with more joy than guilt.

Change Your Mindset about Gift-Giving

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Why do we gift things to each other? Gift giving is commonly done to show appreciation towards other person, and a way to let them feel loved and valued, especially during special occasions. It is a way to celebrate the person and nurture our relationship with them.

 Therefore, the act of gift-giving serves as the gesture of the giver’s feelings towards someone else. The gift (object) itself is just the mean of showing that gesture, and nothing else.

 As the giver, once we’ve given our gifts and expressed our feelings through it, then we’ve fulfilled our intention of showing appreciation to the person. As the receiver, once we’ve received the gift , and felt loved and valued then we’ve fulfilled and honored the intention of the giver. When we focus on the joyful impact of gift-giving, then the experience becomes more meaningful to both parties.

Let Go of Guilt and Unwanted Gifts

Keeping a gift out of guilt ruins the essence of gift-giving. Instead of feeling joyful and ecstatic, one feels burdened knowing they’re keeping or using something that they don’t like.

Logically, we all know that once a gift is given to us, it is no longer the possession of the giver. We own the gift and we are free to do whatever we want to the item. But, why do we still feel guilty about letting them go?

It’s because of the judgement and assumptions we’ve created about the gift and the giver. Remember that our judgement is a reflection of our own fears. We fear hurting anyone by being true to ourselves. We fear having difficult conversations and confrontations. We fear being judged. We fear missing out on something that might be of value to us.

The best way to start letting go of the guilt  is to change your mindset with the way you give and receive gifts. Accept that not all gifts are perfect. As the giver, you wouldn’t want someone holding onto a gift they didn’t love, just because they think it would upset you if they didn’t keep it, right? So take comfort in knowing that the gift giver never intended to give you a gift that feels like a burden, or cause you and your home a problem.

 Another thing that helps is knowing that you you’re not obliged to permanently honor the gift itself. You may like and enjoy the gift at a certain period, and once it passes, then it’s okay to move it along. What greater way to honor an unwanted gift than to give it to someone else who’ll love it way more than you do?

 So be grateful for the thought and the giver and be kind to yourself by choosing to let go of unwanted gifts that have been weighing you down. Even if you keep them out of sight, it doesn’t mean it’s out of your mind.  Let them go and feel amazing knowing you’re surrounded with things that bring you joy. 

Be A Better Gift Giver

 It all starts within ourselves. This coming holiday, observe the following to make sure you and your gift recipients find utmost joy in this season’s gift giving experience.

Be a mindful gift giver

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Know what your recipient want and need. Ask for their wish list if available. Use reusable and eco-friendly packaging. This will help make sure that your gift will not become clutter both in their home and our mother earth.

Be a gracious gift giver

Include gift receipts when possible and let your recipient know that if the item you got them doesn’t delight them, then they are free to exchange it for something that gives them more joy.

Be a considerate gift giver.

Never ask others what they did with your gift or make them feel bad when they decide to discard or give it away. Let go of any expectations from the receiver, and focus on manifesting the feeling you want them to feel with your positive gesture.






Evelyn TayComment