THE ART OF Giving

Why do we give gifts?

Whether consciously or subconsciously, we use gifts to further our agendas — to impress, pacify, fulfill obligations, win others over, one-up, score points, call in a favor for the future, use as a tool for guilt or manipulation, earn bragging rights or even boost our own egos.

But when giving comes with ulterior motives, agenda or expectations, it transforms a thoughtful gesture into an unspoken contract.

UNSEEN MOTIVES

Consider a friend who generously gifted his favorite cousin. The gift was ostentatious and grand, and financially, most certainly a stretch. Beneath the surface, it was more about making a statement – a loud declaration of success and importance.

In essence, it became a gift to himself as it catered to his needs and insecurities. His needs were to be respected by his family members and desire to feel important.

Take another example of going out of your way to buy an expensive watch that your significant other has been ogling over for years. They adore the gift and are thankful for it. But when they forget your birthday, resentment creeps in.

Some of the thoughts that run through our mind include —

“How could you forget? Do you remember that gift I got you last year and how special I made you feel? I had to save up for two years to get you that gift! I did all that for you and you couldn’t even remember my birthday? You’re so ungrateful.”

Subliminally, we expected them to reciprocate and make us feel special, turning the gift into a subtle demand. The demand is that we want them to make us feel special. And attend to our needs and desires.

Such scenarios reveal that our “gifts” often come with unspoken expectations, unbeknownst to the recipient. This accountability is akin to holding someone to a contract they never agreed upon.

THE INVISIBLE CONTRACT

Everyday situations mirror this dynamic. We unknowingly make the recipient sign off on an invisible contract, creating unrealistic expectations. They were never given the opportunity to accept or reject the terms of the agreement. And yet, we deem the acceptance of our gift as their explicit sign-off to our invisible contract.

This notion is ludicrous; one party’s acceptance of a gift does not constitute a fully executed contract!

Conversely, recipients should not expect future gifts. Anticipating annual rituals or gifts of equal value creates unspoken obligations, contributing to a cycle of unmet expectations.

THE CHOICE TO GIVE

No one forces us to buy gifts. It’s our choice. If we seek something in return, we should communicate it. Without communication, we shouldn’t anticipate reciprocation. Yet, our illogical thoughts and expectations demands so. Thus, creating unnecessary pain.

We become the architects of our own pain and heartache.


True giving stems from introspection and honesty.
Ask yourself —
What is my intention in giving this present?
What do I honestly want in exchange for this gift?
Am I expecting a specific reaction from them?
If they hurt me and are no longer in my life 5 weeks or 5 years from now, will I regret giving this gift?

The art of giving is giving from a place of love and abundance, with pure intentions and without hidden agendas or expectations.

Release and Let Go.

Additionally, how the recipient receives the gift is their journey. How the recipient receives the gift and what they do with it, that’s their journey. Once given, let go! The art of giving lies not only in the act itself but also in relinquishing control over its aftermath.

Published: December 4, 2016

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From Global Roots to Unearthed Truths

Asha was born in India, raised in Oman, and lived in London before settling in the U.S. Her multi-continent, multi-cultural, global experience was a clear predecessor that fed her insatiable curiosity – and the inspiration for her defining Twizted voice.

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