It’s truly amazing how wonderful it feels to give of oneself. Gift-giving is the surest way to experience instant gratification. As the season of giving approaches, it is remarkable how truly happy the gift-givers are. Receiving gifts is lots of fun, but the love, care and devotion that goes into giving a meaningful gift to a friend, relative or loved one is wonderful. Meaning is something that we all search for at some point in our lives. The acquisition of possessions is a mindless pursuit, but sharing what you have with others is inherently enriching. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at 5 incredible ways that gift-giving makes us feel even better than receiving gifts.
The whole point of giving a gift to someone else is to show them how much they are appreciated. We live in a material world where a culture of instant gratification abounds. Even so, it is possible to infuse plenty of meaning into the gifts that we give to others. The first step to doing this is through personalization. When you take the time and effort to tailor a gift to someone else’s preferences, it really says so much about you.
The fact that you are going out of your way to pick something out that someone else will like, is truly selfless. But there’s a caveat: The act of giving should never be undertaken with the intent of receiving a gift in return. When you give, the gratitude that you will feel is heartwarming. Multiple studies into the science of gift-giving versus gift-receiving have been conducted, and one overarching theme surfaces: Self-gratification and self-fulfilment.
Relationships between people need to be nurtured and appreciated. There are several ways to do this, including time spent together, activities enjoyed together, and the exchange of gifts. Not only do people feel good receiving gifts, they feel good knowing that the person giving the gift thinks fondly of them. It’s not the value of the gift that matters as much as it is the intention behind gift-giving.
There is a beautiful Latin phrase known as Magno Animo, and it means largeness of spirit. Anyone can experience the feeling of fulfillment that comes with giving a gift. It doesn’t matter where the gift is purchased or what’s its price tag. The point is that gift-giving is our very own soul food. A gift is an expression of our love and appreciation of other people, and it’s a terrific way to strengthen relationships.
There is no doubt that neglect is a contributing factor to failed marriages, broken friendships and poor relationships. There is no reason to wait for a special occasion such as a birthday, Valentine’s Day, or even Christmas to give a gift. Every day is a gift in itself, because life is transient. Once we come to this realization, it becomes so much easier to share with other people, knowing that we have the ability to make somebody else smile.
Everywhere we look, we see acts of kindness. Philanthropists and altruists are leading the way, but everyday folks are just as capable of making this world a much better place. Health and wellness studies confirm that people who feel loved and appreciated live much more fulfilling lives. To think that we have the power to make someone else’s life better is a veritable awakening in our raison d’être.
When you give somebody a gift, their eyes light up instantly. Gift-giving is a wonderful way of enhancing friendships, relationships and partnerships with people. A gift that is given without any expectation in return does wonders for our psychological well-being. According to Dr. Darlene Silvernail of South University at West Palm Beach, ‘…in lifespan and development psychology, we teach about altruism and how it benefits individuals and society.’ Not only do we reinforce the strong bonds we have with people when we give gifts, we build bridges into the future. Gifts are a physical manifestation of our desires; they indicate that we are willing to ‘invest ‘in someone else and that never goes unappreciated.
When people are thoughtful, they put the interests of others first. They know how to prioritize someone else. Our parents and close relatives did this for us when we were babies, and likely continue doing it throughout their lives. It is this feeling of selflessness that allows us to enjoy the intrinsic benefits of gift-giving. There is no doubt that actions speak louder than words. When you do positive things, positive things will happen to you in return. What you put out there into the universe is what you get back, that’s karma. We have total control over our comportment with others, and good behavior always gets rewarded.
It comes as no surprise that the most appreciated gifts are the ones that are simply given for no apparent reason. Imagine coming home and finding a beautiful and meaningful gift waiting for you on the kitchen counter? It’s not your birthday, it’s not even your anniversary – it’s simply a day that you are appreciated. According to Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Phyllis Hart, ‘Gift-giving makes us feel happy that we are responsible for making someone else feel good. It brings us a feeling of satisfaction knowing that something we did had a positive effect on another person.’
Some people feel that it is wrong to give a gift that isn’t expensive, but nothing could be further from the truth. The most meaningful gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive gifts. We are not measured by the cost of the gifts we give as much as we are by the fact that we are giving people. A simple note of appreciation does wonders for the recipient. When we transcribe positive thoughts to paper, and we see the effects on the recipient – we are left speechless. It is not a duty to give a gift, nor is it an obligation – it is a blessing.
We have all heard the age-old adage, ‘It is better to give than to receive.’ Some folks believe that it is better to take than to give, but there is no long-term happiness in that philosophy. Harvard Business School Professor, Michael Norton has debunked the theory that more money makes people a lot happier. His case study of 632 people across the US found that the happiest people were not necessarily the ones who earned more money, they were the ones who gave more. Altruistic spending is clearly a great way to move towards a more meaningful life. If nothing else, it provides a clear blueprint for a pathway to eternal happiness.
Looking for the perfect gift for that awesome single mom in your life? Get some inspiration from our Single Moms Holiday Gift Guide. See what our single mom experts’ favorite picks!
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