And yet, here I am again, on the Eve of the Eve of Christmas recognizing that none of that happened. (OK, maybe I am a model of peace, love and goodwill but…..) The good news is that I feel ok about it. I know that there is no outfit that would give me more joy than that which I get from being with my family. I know that no one of importance is judging my decorations. And judging from how fast the little baked treats disappear from the plates, I’m guessing that no one is too concerned that my baking isn’t the fanciest either.
In terms of gifts, I’ve been thinking about how I choose the gifts I give. I’ve also been thinking about the spirit with which I give and receive gifts. I was playing a little game in my mind that I’ll call, ‘What If I Could Give Any Gift?
In my imaginary game, it is today, less than 24 hours until all stores are closed and all shopping is complete. In my game I have access to a special store, one that sells only quality gifts. In this store money does not limit my choices. Nor does size or colour. Each item in the store would fit the wearer perfectly. In this store, there is never a shortage of the quality gifts I seek. No one ever tells me, “I’m sorry, we just sold our last one”. And as an added bonus, each quality gift is one of a kind, does not need wrapping and is easy to carry.
The gifts in this store are Qualities. In my little imaginary game, I’ve been thinking about what quality I would ‘purchase’ for each of the special people in my life if this were the store I shopped at. I would do some very serious thinking about which quality I think that each person might not only benefit from but which quality might serve them the very best in their life.
It’s amazing to me that when we look at people from the outside, it is so easy for us to imagine what quality would benefit them the most. It could be that they are in need of some Gentle; this would be just the thing to soften their words and make them more approachable. They may reap rewards from some Bravery; we might easily be able to see what talents they could bring to life if they were not afraid. Perhaps they would profit from Tranquility; we might have noticed that their worrying gets in the way of their being able to enjoy the moment.
The quality of Trust might be a popular choice; someone we know may need to learn to trust others, or more importantly learn to trust themselves. One of our loved ones may be delighted to be graced with Bravery, while another may revel in a brand-new Backbone. Passion shouldn’t be overlooked in this magical store; someone we know might benefit from a small amount of this in order to feel fulfilled. Some will need some Certainty, while others may need Flexibility.
The good news is that this store is filled with every manner of Quality. Kindness, Compassion, Boldness, Forgiveness, Respect, Easy-Going, Confident, Open, Pride, Honesty, Determination are only the tip of the iceberg in this store.
Hidden on some smaller shelves, among others, may be Communication, Determination, Persistence, Humour, Loyalty, Humility and Fairness.
As I played ‘What If I Could Give Any Gift?’ in my mind as I was baking, it struck me that if I was going to be able to shop at this store for my loved ones, then it was only fair that they should be able to shop here for me. What would they give me I wonder?
What is the quality that they can see would benefit me the most? This is much harder for me to think honestly about. We all want to feel that others see us in our best light, and that they love us how we are. We hate to think that we need fixing or that we are not enough.
One of the most basic premises of Coaching is that ‘The client is creative, resourceful and whole. The client is not broken and does not need fixing.’ I believe this completely and I use it consistently in my coaching practice. It is such a gift to be seen from this perspective.
And so, this Christmas, I have decided that I will shop at my little shop and only buy a gift for myself. I will purchase as much Acceptance as I can. I will use this purchase to remind myself that I am fine exactly how I am and that the other people in my life are not broken either. They do not need more of some Quality that I have decided will make me feel better about them. They are perfectly whole, as am I. I will accept them exactly as they arrive at my door, and I hope to be received in the same generous way.
I urge each of you to visit this shop, and to find your perfect gift; not the gift that you will give to others to make them ‘better’, but the gift that you will give to yourself that will allow you to accept the beauty and wonder and love of this Season into your life.
May your homes and hearts be blessed with Peace, Hope and Love this Christmas.