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 Post subject: Accepting Gifts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:17 am 
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I have traditionally had great difficulty with birthdays in terms of expectations, mood management and gift acceptance.

A friend of mine recently posted a rant about Christmas in which she spouted off about the inappropriateness of the gifts some people chose for her. (Such as chocolates even though she is lactose and gluten intolerant - something a true friend who had been paying attention would have picked up on.)

Through a completely unrelated topic at a managerial support forum I attend, this came up:

Quote:
[The person your boss picked m]ay not be the perfect person or perfect fit, but it rarely is, just like any gift.


I need to accept that gifts are a reflection of the giver and not a reflection of my worth, value or presence in the world around me. The gift is representative of the person giving it to me - imperfect, focused perhaps on different things, better suited for someone else, etc.

I need to accept that no gift will be perfect from someone else. I can only give MYSELF the perfect gifts (love, acceptance, support, encouragement) and anything that comes in a box, in an envelope or with a bow is simply a reflection of the other person attempting to forge a connection with me based on their perceptions of me, their desires for me, their agendas - hidden or direct. (Direct agenda example: "Here's a thighmaster, honey!")

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 Post subject: Re: Accepting Gifts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:38 pm 
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Thanks Ash,

I realize I also have issues with gifts. It’s seems to me I put a lot of time and effort into gifts because I really like it when the recipient goes “Wow - that is amazing”, and yet no one seems to put the same effort into my gifts, as most things I receive are really just junk. But I can see from your post that it’s my stuff that requires me to gain personal joy in giving something that makes someone’s day so special. And it’s the givers stuff that they lack the ability or don’t place the effort into giving me something that would make me go wow.

I could put my mind to work a try and understand what their problem is and try to get them to see the world as I do, but that is the way my mind use to work. I agree it’s better to just accept the giver as doing the best with what they have and accept they can’t read my mind, (and I really don’t want them too most of the time). This doesn’t make them better or worse than me, they are just who they are.

Someone once wrote that expectations are relationship killers, so instead of expecting someone to find that which makes my toes curl, maybe I am better off accepting them as they are, not perfect but still possessing the good qualities they possess.


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 Post subject: Re: Accepting Gifts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:46 pm 
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I think I have the opposite problem. I want to give someone that 'wow' gift so badly......but I'm not very good at it. I over think it and over think it till it just gets last-minute or I give up with myself over it. They wind up with a gift that is less-than-wow or just not quite 'perfect' for them. It's about me, not them. There really is no such thing as 'perfect' anyway....if i quit looking for perfection and just appreciate what I have to give (or recieve), then I am much more satisfied over all.

I've always tried to look at gift-giving according to the old proverbs: better to give than receive, give gifts without expectation of something (anything, including reaction) in return, find the good in all things, etc. Sometimes it's hard......but if I'm not expecting fireworks out of a gift, the things I receive are generally a very welcome 'wow' surprise. Sometimes it's just a matter of better communication-- if I ask for specifics, I get specifics. If I expect the other person to read my mind, I'm disappointed.

Honestly, most times I'm just happy to be getting gifts at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Accepting Gifts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:52 pm 
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Harmonium, I think you give me a perspective that's important as I look at my own perspective. Like Anchorage says, sometimes I open a gift and think "Honestly, what on earth were they thinking??" and I used to get really pissy about gifts like that. (Inside but my insides tend to seep out not-so-subtly.) I think knowing that someone IS trying or even COULD be trying but just doesn't have The Super Star Gift Giving Gene is okay. It's no one's fault. It's not a reflection of anyone's value - mine for getting the Chia pet or yours for picking the Chia pet for me! No gift is perfect and I need to remind myself that I am far more thankful for having the gift of that person in my life rather than whatever I might unwrap from them.

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 Post subject: Re: Accepting Gifts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:22 pm 
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After my divorce, I went through a period of a number of years when I basically received no gifts at either Christmas or my birthday (forget Valentines Day or Mothers Day -- usually not even a card). Obviously I was no longer on my exh's gift list, my daughter was in school and broke, so at most I'd get one or two very small and inexpensive gifts from her, and my son, for some reason I've never figured out, was incapable of/disinterested in gift giving, so I'd get nothing from him other than a verbal "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Birthday." My mother was descending into the dementia hole, so there'd be nothing from her, or a small check that my sister would write on her account. I'd like to say that I was OK with that and understood, but really, I wasn't. I was feeling, after the divorce and a severe bout of depression with two long hospitalizations, very vulnerable and unloved and hopeless, and I needed tangible tokens of affection.

At the same time, I was still pushing myself to go out and look for meaningful (from my perspective, I know) gifts to give them and my siblings and mother. I'd spend money I didn't have. It wasn't at all that I was thinking that if I gave them nice stuff that they'd return the favor, because it was all about the giving to me -- it's something I enjoy, even if picking the "right" gift stresses me out, but it hurt that most of the time it seemed like I'd barely get a thank-you and next to nothing from them to me.

Now, my mother is gone, but my kids have done better the last few years -- they still don't have much money to spend, but that's not the point. And really, I've gotten to the point where I'm less needy in that department. I'm just grateful when I get to sit down and share some time and maybe have a nice meal with both of them at once, since it only happens a couple of times a year. I value that way over any "stuff." And even though my sibs either send me a little cash or a gift certificate (or nothing...), I still purchase gifts for them. I was going to tell them to skip it this year, or tell them I was going to make charitable gifts in their name (they could pick the charity) -- I still may do that next year -- but then I found something that my sister wanted and I offered to buy it for her and she was grateful, and I was happy to do that.

It is a complicated thing, gift giving. There's a whole lot of internal dialogue that goes on for me.

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