What is the gift that people really
want? Most of us tend to think in terms of what "thing" can I get for
someone. There is a long tradition of giving and receiving "things"
this time of year. But the part that makes the gift have real meaning
is that it came from you. Your relationship with others... your caring,
love, admiration, gratitude, honor, respect, etc. is what people want
to feel the most. The gifts can be nice, but the most important part
is the feeling behind the gift.
There is another feeling that people
long to experience that could also be considered more important than
the gift and just as important as the feeling behind the gift. It is
your presence (no pun intended). By presence, I am referring to the
attention you give people when you are with them. This attention is
usually given in the form of listening, making conversation, or doing
things together. You actually donít have to be in the same physical
location for people to experience your presence. For example, you can
feel the other personís presence talking on the telephone. We all
cherish and look forward to the experience of being with the people we
love and care about in whatever form it takes, especially this time of
The people you are close to want to
experience that you care about them, that you love them. They want to
feel you listening to them while they talk about whatever is on their
mind. They want you to respond, but not take too long! They want to
feel like you heard what they had to say. They want to feel
understood. You donít have to agree with what they said, they just
want you to hear their perspective. People in general are starving to
be listened to by someone who is really listening, not someone who is
pretending to listen while they are thinking of what they are going to
So if you want to be a really big hit
this Holiday Season with those who are close to you, and with anyone
else for that matter.
Practice giving people the gift of your
presence which is your attention, your kindness (love), and your
Go out of your way to sincerely
compliment people. Encourage people to talk by asking them sincere
questions about anything. Listen longer before you speak. Listen
without feeling like you have to have an opinion. Just smile and say,
"I hear you!" You will marvel at the way people will respond to you!
(And, how much better you get along with tricky relatives if you skip
the temptation to give your opinion on the topic at hand.)
If you are up for the rush of something
with a little more challenge, make an effort to get out of your
comfort zone. Help someone do something you would not normally do.
Help someone you would not normally help. Do something outrageously
generous with no expectation of return. All these actions will make
other people feel great and there is a big bonus for you. You guessed
it... you are going to feel great too!
Enjoying our experiences with other
people is what makes us happy at the deepest level. Letís all be the
creative instigators of some wonderful, heart-felt experiences this
Holiday Season. Letís create some stories people can fondly reminisce
about next year!
Have a productive year end and peaceful
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