It is officially gift-giving season around these parts.

For some, it is an Olympic sport. Joey gave something THIS big to Veronica, so now Veronica has to give something even bigger to Joey.

So then Joey feels compelled to give even more to Veronica, even though he can’t afford it and so this year, Veronica has become one of those wild-eyed demons we see in the mall parking lot, cutting people off, swearing like a Marine and trying to get a parking space closer than her house so that she can find the perfect one-up gift for Joey, even though she had to sell a

kidney to get it. All in the name…of Holiday Joy. Who made these rules??

One of the joys of being a grown up, is that you get to make a lot of your own rules.

If you’re giving gifts, whether they be tangible things, time, energy or resources, you might do well to listen carefully for the words “must,” have to” and “should” in your thoughts. “Must,” “have to” and “should” are blazing red flags that typically indicate that you are giving with resentment.

The antidote is not to try and make oneself unresentful, but rather, to recognize that you’ve actually given too much. Ask yourself why you are giving what you’re giving.

Why are you hanging on the phone with your Negative Nancy friend?

Because she doesn’t have any other friends?

Isn’t it possible that she doesn’t have any other friends because no one will tell her, with love, that her negativity is overwhelming and killing her relationships? But that isn’t nice! you say.

No, it’s not.

But it is kind, respectful, thoughtful, honest and healing. Which would you rather receive?

Do you want friends who will enable your destructive behavior?

Or ones who will love you through growing out of it?

Give what you’d like to receive. Gifts given out of obligation lack a sincere emotional connection. Would you rather receive a gift because someone felt obligated to give it to you, thereby obligating you to give back in kind and with equal resentment?

What a crazy trap. As Nancy Reagan told us in the 80’s… “Just say no!” Give what you can give with love.

Give what you can give with love.

Give because you genuinely want to give.

And if you genuinely don’t?

DON’T GIVE. Yes, some people will be angry, disappointed or feel you are unspeakably rude when you do not give the expected gift, whether it be tangible or otherwise. However, when you do give, they will be that much more elated, because they know you did it out of genuine care and love for them. They can trust your sincerity. Better still, you will not be depleted, resentful and frustrated. You will have more energy, more time and more resources from which to give. You will give better gifts. Are you living in a prison of obligations and resentments?

Click the Contact Tiffany button above and let’s talk about how we can start to untie those knots together. “Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant.” 

~ Maya Angelou