The Best Gift Of All

The only gift I have to give is the ability to receive.
If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me.”
                                                                                          -Jarod Kintz

Love is a recurring theme during the holidays and yet we usually focus on loving others through gift giving. What if, this holiday, we were to give ourselves the gift of truly listening to our own souls and of loving what we find there?

There are so many voices we hear inside of our heads, and so many sentences that reverberate in us and influence us. Most of these voices and sentences like: you can’t win, you have to do this, only the strongest survive, you have to give in this way, and so on, are really not ours. Most of them are beliefs we have heard from our families, friends, and associations. They are not truly ours and yet they influence us so profoundly.

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is the gift of listening to our own voices. This sounds so simple, and in fact is simple, and yet, is so hard for us to do. So, how do we listen to and love ourselves?

We begin by peeling away the layers of “ought to and should” and by setting aside specific time in the day to just listen. I find one of the best ways for me to listen is to go out in nature, take a walk, sit by my morning window where I can see the trees, sun, clouds, and birds. These quiet times are when I can hear my quiet, still, inside voice. There are no other distractions. I can just quietly ask myself questions and let the answers and voices come as they will. There is no forcing or holding back. I am simply present with myself. The more I take time to listen, the more my voice grows.

It is easier to listen to ourselves when we meditate and take time away from others. As we grow in our ability to hear our inner voices, we can then bring the strength with us as we go about our daily lives. When mom’s voice speaks to us telling us how to do things, we can choose to listen or not and impose our own voice. When we hear the voices of what we are supposed to do, we also can hear the voice of what gives us life and inner love. When our partners don’t support us, when we get disappointed by life’s happenings, when we have too many things to do and are pulled in different directions, we also have our voice supporting and directing us. This is a way of self nurturing; self loving.
Along these lines, two of life’s best words are: no, and, yes. No, I won’t do this. Yes, I want to do this, and yes, thank you. Two year olds learn the importance of the word, no. We have to learn this word before we can learn the word of yes. When we can say no, we can then say yes.
The gift of self love allows us to give to others. This gift of love also allows us to listen to our inner voice which is always whispering ways in which we can come more fully alive.

Healthy lifestyle Tips
How can we take care of ourselves this holiday season?

Write down what you think you are supposed to do; is it decorate, bake, buy, wrap, cook, etc?

Write down what you are moved to do; write, bake for gifts, make jewelry, have a sleep over instead of a big dinner you make, bring in pizza, make soup, etc.

Then write down what you actually have to do.

Write down your creative ideas and what makes you feel good.

Then put together your creative ideas, your actual “have to’s”, your desires, and what you are moved to do. For each “have to” add one creative desire. Stop when your inner voice says enough.

Breathe! Drink water, find your own morning window, and love yourself.

Happy Holidays


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