The gift of giving.

il_570xN.393890513_9c2gThe gift of giving is that it is in itself a gift. Whether you are giving or receiving, it’s an exchange of love.

Yet the message that surrounds us is that you should you get what you can, when you can. The daily bombardment of advertising tries to convince us that you will be happier, more beautiful, more successful if you have more. Believe me. You won’t.

“You can’t find happiness in getting, but you can find happiness in giving.” ~ Joyce Meyer

It’s easy to compare yourself with others and become disenchanted with your own life. However you can be content and happy if you accept that you may not have what you want, but you do have what you need.

But just as there is a law of attraction, so there is a law of giving – you reap what you sow. Therefore sow with abundance. If you are willing to share what you have, you could find that you end up with what you want – especially if what you want is to be loved.

“Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” ~Richard Bach

I know what it is like to have been given a second chance at life. I remember the times when it was practically impossible to give to myself let alone anyone else. Anyone who had suffered with depression will know how isolating it is and how even basic communication can be a challenge. Depression engulfs you in a bubble of despair and loneliness that prevents you from giving anything to anyone – physically or emotionally. You can’t give away to someone else what you don’t have for yourself.

One of the joys of my recovery is being able to share what I have and to be able to genuinely care about others. Every day I aim to give back in some way.Often it’s through the opportunity to respond to those who contact me to disclose their difficulties and challenges. My gift to them is a safe place to share and the promise of hope by switching on a little flicker of light as they go through the darkness.

Other times it can be gifts that I know will bless or encourage others. A thoughtful present, an offer of practical help, or an act of kindness are all things that are easy to do, yet are wonderfully rewarding.

It’s marvelous to receive, but in my eyes it’s infinitely better to give.  Paying back to those who have and continue to help me on my journey is important to me. It gives me a connection with others that I treasure and helps me appreciate what I have in my life today.

An anonymous donation reminds me that I am able to pay back what has been given to me, without the need for recognition or acknowledgement. Because life isn’t all about me. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an anonymous gift you’ll know that the joy is for more than the gift itself, it’s knowing that you meant something to someone, that they were thinking of you, that someone cared. For me, that is love in action.

“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” ~ Jean Anouilh

Sometimes the hardest gift of all is when you give something of yourself. If you have invested love in another only to be rejected or abused then you can become wary of giving away your love.  The fear of opening up old wounds or being hurt again can turn your heart to stone. Any trace of generosity of kindness can be overshadowed by bitterness, resentment and fear.

“The degree of loving is measured by the degree of giving.” ~ Edwin Louis Coleil_570xN.364132462_2nag

Any gift can be a gift of love if it is given willingly and without obligation. And whilst money and actual presents are always a wonderful way to show you care, there are many other ways to give that are just as valuable.

Sharing your time, your expertise, your advice, your encouragement, your support or your prayers are all ways to offer yourself to someone. .A gift can be given anytime or anywhere. It may cost nothing to you, but to them it may be priceless. And the return for you can be greater than you ever imagined.

The gift of giving is love.