We made our way over to the table and sat down for our meal. As I poured the tea, Dharma began, "Irwin, you emailed me and asked for a lesson that might relate to Christmas. And I believe I have the perfect one. My boy, the best gift a frog can give is his attention, his time, and his love. And I think, Irwin, to that list I would also add being non-judgmental. So let's take a closer look at each of them, shall we?" I was intrigued and nodded my approval. The following is a summary of what Dharma believes to be the best gifts we can give to those who matter the most to us.
The first gift we can offer anyone is our attention. Everyone, both human and frog alike, gets easily distracted these days. There's so much going on all around us vying for our attention. having someone sit down with us and give us his undivided attention, even for a few minutes, can be a priceless gift. Each of wants to be seen and to be heard. Taking a few minutes to listen to what another has to say or see what they want to show us, without being interrupted by the TV, cell phone, or endless text messages, is a rare gift indeed. It means being in the present moment, making a real connection with another and giving them the stage that they deserve. it is a gift that is often overlooked but extremely meaningful. Just ask your kids.
The next great gift is our time. In a world where being too busy is normal, the giving of our time to another can make a real difference. Time is, after all, life. So how do we give of our time? By taking our commitments seriously. Whether that is time at the office, time for your kid's soccer practice, or spending quality time with your spouse or friends. Don't overbook your schedule knowing that, at some point, you'll have to back out of at least one commitment. You know how angry you get when your flight is overbooked? When we overbook our daily schedules, it's just like that, but worse. Because that get dropped are our co-workers, friends, and family, make time for others. Stop and have a conversation with your neighbor. Show up on time for commitments. Be present. This holiday, spend quality uninterrupted and undistracted time with those you care about.
Third on our holiday list is the gift of non-judgment. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody. Accepting others flaws, warts, and mistakes is truly a one-size fits all gift for everyone on our shopping list...from the youngest to the oldest. Tolerance and acceptance of others also means being tolerant and acceptance of ourselves. No one is perfect. Learn to accept others as they are and when they offer you a heartfelt apology, accept it with honest forgiveness. You'd want the same thing, right? The fourth and final gift is the best, so Dharma saved it for last.
Unconditional love is unquestionably the greatest gift of all. Some of us may have never felt it, but it something that everyone wants. Unconditional love allows someone to feel secure, be vulnerable, sense their worth, and discover who they really are. All humans, frogs too, long to have a consistent friend who loves them, believes in them, and is continually there for them no matter the circumstances. If you’re willing to be that for others, not only will it expand your people/social capacity, it will also give you a more satisfying life. I know what you're thinking..."It' can be difficult to love some folks just because they're difficult." Dharma's answer is, "Loving those difficult people around you can feel a bit like hugging a porcupine. Not much fun. it's not easy but it can be done." In Dharma's view, those are the very individuals who need your love the most. Those folks are EGR's...extra grace required. While unconditional love and acceptance are considered to be the greatest gift we can give others, it can also be the most difficult to give. Dharma suggests using these helpful tips to better offer love to those who are the most difficult in your life. 1. Positive reinforcement can go along way in extracting change in another.
2. Schedule time to spend with them around your schedule so you won't feel rushed. Plan a fun activity that you can both enjoy but one that doesn't take too much time or might in other ways cause more conflict or tension. keep it light and fun. 3. Don't be afraid to set boundaries. If they want to chat for an hour, gently tell them you're happy to talk but that you have 15 minutes right now. Set the boundary, then stick with it. Many humans are simply lonely and don't mean to be meddlesome or irksome. When you re-frame your thinking, it can make it much easier to love the difficult people in your life. Treating others with the same love, respect and dignity you want is a gift that can add great value to the lives of others, as well as to your own.
Dharma and I finished up our meal and exchanged holiday pleasantries. It will be a couple of weeks until he makes his next visit. I can honestly say that I will miss him. I am grateful for his wisdom, his kindness, and his love. So "Merry Christmas, Dharma. Enjoy your holiday and I look forward to seeing you in early 2019!"
To you, my dear reader, I invite you back tomorrow for an informative blog on holiday re-gifting etiquette. Until then, Dharma and I wish you