The Greatest Gift You Can Give, Is to Love Yourself
We all chase the likes, shares, right swipes, and positive comments. We treat it like it’s a gift. But the greatest gift we can give is to Love ourselves.
Life conditions us, through bad teachings, that love is external. That our love for ourselves relates to the opinions of those who we revere or love in our daily lives. It might be a supervisor or boss. It might be a coach or a teacher. It could be a neighbor, friend, relative, or loved one.
We hear about social media influencers with lots of followers with no actual friends who commit suicide. We wonder why they did it? We ration that they had problems no one could see. No one looked.
Society today tells us we need to be thin, wealthy, fashionable, dating beautiful people, that we need to be seen in all the right places spending time with all the right people. Yet the best person you can spend time with is yourself, alone.
I see it everywhere today. People rushing here and there, constantly looking down at a phone. I’ve been at dinner parties and have seen others focused on someone in another place and were only interested in what they were doing somewhere else, rather than bond with someone directly in front or next to them.
I have a saying I use often, to be Loved, you must be Lovable. In order to be Lovable, you must Love yourself, first.
So, what happens when I Love myself first? Here are a few examples:
I don’t get offended easily
I Love for the right reasons
I can refuse to be with anyone who doesn’t respect me
I attract those who Love themselves into my life
Other’s opinion of me cannot devastate me
Loving yourself requires you to nurture yourself. Be the adult to your inner child. Teach it how valuable it is. Most of all, you need to teach it YOUR values, not someone else’s. Only you can determine your value.
Many people today do not know how to learn to Love themselves, how to appreciate their own beauty, their glory.
Here are a few suggestions:
Learn to be still. We have two selves, an outer self that feeds on external stimulus and an inner self. We connect our inner self to our source and it will tell us what we need to hear. But you have to be still to hear it.
Talk less and listen more. Stop telling yourself what you need or don’t need. Be still and listen to your inner self. Connect with your source, whatever that might be.
Stop chasing people. When you chase after anything, it will repel away from you. It’s the natural order. When you stop chasing things, you allow what you need to be attracted to you.
Remind yourself you are not a god. You will make mistakes, it’s natural. This is how we learn. You were never expected to be perfect, so when you make a mistake, remember it, and learn from it.
Know You Are Enough. You are complete as you are. You do not need the perfect friend, outfit, car, or lover to be complete. These things are only an addition to what already complete. If you lose one, you won’t be devastated.
Sometimes I get down, we all do. Sometimes it seems like the sun won’t ever shine in my world. I know it won’t last because everything in life, including dark times, is temporary, but sometimes in the moment it seems like it will never end.
That’s when I remind myself of how valuable I am. I remind myself that I am so valuable that even if I were the only person on the planet, my source would have created all of this just for me. Everything I could see, touch, smell, or hear.
We need to remember that we need to be our own best friends first.
That’s why I say, The Greatest Gift You Can Give, Is to Love Yourself
Its Christmas In Our Hearts That Puts Christmas In the Air
Christmas is not a season; Christmas is a feeling. It fills us with excitement. It can easily remind us of the joy we experienced our first memorable Christmas as a child. It fills our hearts with joy. It brings out the giving side of us. Its Christmas In Our Hearts That Puts Christmas In the Air.
It’s the feeling Christmas brings us that lets us bring down our walls and wear ugly sweaters. It’s the excitement of putting up lights on the house, even though its work. It’s buying and decorating a tree. It’s singing along to the Christmas songs on the radio.
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
― Norman Vincent Peale
Christmas is about many things to many people. It has different meanings. Different symbolism. Take away the symbolism and you have a mutual feeling shared by many.
Christmas brings out kindness and charity in people who forget about such things during the year. We feel obliged to drop in an extra dollar in the guy’s pot in the Santa suits ringing a bell.
It helps us to donate to the homeless shelters so those less fortunate can have a meal and for a moment, maybe only a moment, remember days past when things weren’t so tough.
Christmas just makes us happy. I believe we remember the joy we experienced as children. The excitement of counting the days until Christmas morning. The pure joy we experienced seeing lights on the homes.
We remember neighbors speaking in a friendly way to each other. Possibly the only time they spoke to each other.
It’s a magical time. A time of wonder, joy, excitement, and giving. A time when we as adults can remember what joy actually is. If we can remember.
Between the decorating, the buying of things, the visits to families, and the wrapping of presents, the endless wrapping of presents. As adults, we can be so busy with Christmas that we forget to enjoy it.
The spirit of Christmas lives in our hearts. We locked it away in there as children because we enjoyed it so much. Sometimes we just need to remember Its Christmas In Our Hearts That Puts Christmas In the Air
The Spirit of Christmas Doesn’t Come from A Store, The Spirit of Christmas Means So Much More
It’s that time of the season again when we all rush about to get that perfect present for the ones we love, the perfect gift, the perfect ingredient for the perfect meal, or the perfect outfit. But the Spirit of Christmas doesn’t come from a store, the Spirit of Christmas means so much more.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
It’s easy to get caught up in the logistics of the Christmas season. But we cannot buy the true Spirit of the season, we must give it.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is of a mother and her young daughter who were racing about doing the last-minute shopping before Christmas.
Frazzled, tired, and with a lack of patience from a long day of crowds and parking lots, the mother and daughter embarked on one last store for one last gift.
After entering the store, the mother turned to her young daughter and said, “did you see the look that woman gave me?”. The young daughter replied with all the wisdom of her youth and replied “oh, she didn’t give you that look mommy, you’ve had it all day”.
It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of the season and remember that the true Spirit of the Christmas season is in the giving of one’s self to another. We cannot purchase this in any store.
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” ― Calvin Coolidge
Christmas is more than a day to receive, it’s a day to BELIEVE. Believe in peace on Earth, just for one day. Belief in Joy to the World, just for one day. Belief in the birth of a Savior. Belief in a jolly old fat man with a sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering presents to all the good children around the world.
Every child has two eyes and no two see the same view. But the joy seen threw the eyes of a child never disappears in its memories of Christmas. That’s the Spirit of Christmas. Wonder. Excitement. Joy. Sharing. Giving of one’s self to another. Caring. Joy. We can purchase none of which.
That’s why I say The Spirit of Christmas Doesn’t Come from A Store, The Spirit of Christmas Means So Much More.
Gifts are a very personal way of showing appreciation and/or Love of another person in our lives. We give them often, but The Spirit of The Gift, Determines Its Value. A gift is not a gift if we expect a reward or a thank you, it’s a bribe.
Merriam-Webster defines a gift as:
Something given to someone without expectation of a return
During the holidays especially, we seek the perfect gift for the recipient (s). We put together our lists and try to match the perfect gift for each person. Sometimes it’s romantic, sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it’s just platonic. It’s a long-standing tradition that we have all grown accustomed to, but sometimes we lose sight of the true meaning of the gift and the purpose behind it.
Giving a gift is, and should always be, a selfless act. It’s an expression of caring from you to another, be it family, friends, associates, or Loved ones. It is an expression from you to another person they mean enough to you you would take time out of your busy day and devote it to an act of kindness on their behalf.
Do a good deed and throw it into the sea.
— Egyptian proverb
Sometimes we get caught up in the season of gift giving and we forget why we are giving it. We place a value to the gift for each person, as if each person is worth so much more or less than another. Sometimes it’s not the thought of the gift, it’s the gift itself that matters to us.
It’s in these moments that we need to stop and test our reasons behind the thought of the gift. What’s behind the act of the giving, the why behind it all. Far too often we can get caught up in the act and lose sight of the meaning.
“Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.”
So what is a gift? A gift is an expression to another person or thing that they are important to you. That they mean something to you. That they have value in your life. Enough so you would spend your own time, effort, and money on them in this expression.
Why do we give them? Sometimes we give them out of tradition, sometimes we give them out of obligation, and sometimes we give them out of the Love we have for others. Giving should always be selfless. We should give freely with no strings attached. It sets an example to those around us that there is more value in giving than receiving.
We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings.
— Sudanese proverb
The free unabashed act of freely giving to another gives us a sense of gratefulness of our sense of humanity. It reminds us we were born here in this moment, place, and time to share a small piece of ourselves with another.
Gifts can come in many forms and mean different things to different people. We can purchase some, we can make some, and we can share some. It’s in the gift’s spirit that determines its value. It’s in the why we gave it in the first place that we need to focus.
Often, we need to access the gift itself and ask ourselves if it’s meaning we wish to convey translates to the person we wish to give it to. We should ask ourselves if we are giving this gift to impress them, or to show thanks to them for being in our lives.
No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.
We need to ask ourselves if we are being honest with ourselves and others if the gift we give is an honest gift. Do we have hidden motives behind the gift? Are we secretly expecting special favor from the person receiving the gift? Are we expecting a reward for the gift?
Giving should be done freely, selflessly, and from the heart. Expecting a reward or a thank you diminish the gift itself. It turns the gift into a bribe and takes away its luster and warmth. It becomes self-serving instead of a selfless act.
In this season of giving, give for the right reason. Give appropriately and give freely. Your heart will thank you for it.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”
Remember: Happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy.
 Gift definition/Merriam-Webster.com/accessed 11/18/2020/ https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/gift
 Brian Tracy quotes/ Goodreads.com/accessed 11/18/2020/https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/186770-always-give-without-remembering-and-always-receive-without-forgetting
 Robert Louis Stevenson quotes/Goodreads.com/ accessed 11/18/2020/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/854076.Robert_Louis_Stevenson#:~:text=Start%20by%20following%20Robert%20Louis%20Stevenson.%20%E2%80%9CDon%27t%20judge,cards%2C%20but%20of%20playing%20a%20poor%20hand%20well.%E2%80%9D
What the Buddha Taught Me About Fear, And How I Overcome It
Fear is an emotional response we are all born with designed to protect ourselves from danger, be it real or imagined. Fear, if allowed, can take over a person’s life preventing them from becoming the person they were born to be and preventing your Dreams from coming true.
Here is what the Buddha taught me about Fear, and how I overcome it.
Dictionary.com defines fear as:
A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
What we need to focus on in this definition is the words whether the threat is real or imagined. Fear comes from the unknowing of the future outcome, thus the imagined part of the definition.
Most of us will live out our lives, never being able to see the future, so we need to take risks. Some might even call it a gamble. Many of us will refuse to take the risk out of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of rejection. The list goes on and on. For some of us, myself included, fear no longer stops us from taking a chance on ourselves.
Getting what you want in life will require at some point taking a risk. If you want to be with that girl, ask her out. If you want a raise, ask your boss. If you want more than what a job can provide you, take a chance on yourself, like I did, and go against the grain and start a business.
It’s hard to be fearless when everyone around you is fearful. They will dampen your dreams to “protect you”, but the truth is they don’t want to see you succeed where they failed.
Here are 5 pitfalls that caused my fear:
Putting things above people
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
One of our greatest fears is the fear of losing things. We do not own these things. They are temporary. Everything in life is temporary. When we realize we cannot lose that which we do not own, the fear of losing it disappears..
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.”
Many of us wait for “the right moment” to do something or say something. Life does not wait for us. It has its own time frame, and it is not dependent on you. We wait out of fear if we are honest with ourselves. We convince ourselves that it just wasn’t the right time for me, but that’s a lie. We were just afraid.
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Far too often we settle in life. We settle not for what we deserve or our destiny, but for what life gives us. Life rewards the brave, and the brave do not settle. Life rewards us when we act, especially when we are afraid.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one–himself. Better to conquer yourself than others.”
Far too many times in life we try to avoid the pain we foresee as the outcome, so we don’t even try. Your greatest enemy is yourself. Pain teaches us. It teaches us what works, and what does not. We avoid the pain because we are afraid. Afraid of an outcome we do not know, so we never try.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
Far too many times we listen to that voice in the back of our heads that warn us of potential doom when it’s really us just being afraid. We never “always” do anything. We do not “always” screw things up in any situation, except in our minds. This is just fear taking over us.
In the time I have been on this Earth, I have experienced everything listed above and have overcome them all.
Even though I was afraid of not having security, but I started a business. That was 12 years ago.
I feared heights, so I jumped out of a plane.
I had a message to get out but thought no one would listen, so I wrote a book and started a website.
You can train yourself to overcome your fears if you are willing.
Here are some suggestions that helped me to overcome my fears and how I stopped telling life “no”.
You are not your past
“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”
Just because you have made a mistake in the past does not mean you will automatically do it again, accept this. Far too many times we think we are our past, but we are not. Your past does not make you “who” you are, it only makes you “where” you are. Put down the raft.
Every mistake is a lesson, not a failure
“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing. The goal is to find it.”
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb we all now know and use. When asked in an interview how it felt to fail 10,000 times. He replied, “I did not fail 10,000 time. I found 10,000 ways it would not work”. Learn from your mistakes and do your best to not repeat them.
Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy it.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Far too many times in life we get so caught up in in the logistics, the accomplishing, the gaining, and the holding on to things and we forget to enjoy it. Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about moments. Take a minute, stop, and enjoy them.
Change your thoughts and change your trajectory
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
If you say you can, or can’t, you are correct. Embrace the mantra of “Why Not!”. Can’t really means won’t because there is nothing you can’t do if you believe you can. Start imagining your victory, however large or small BEFORE you start, then finish the job.
Use your imagination
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”
Far too many times in life we get lost in the problems and cannot see the solution because we are too close to the situation. Get creative to overcome your fears. You are more resourceful than you give yourself credit for.
Stop giving yourself a pass
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.”
We need to be tougher on ourselves when we falter. We all have moments when we aren’t 100% so we slack off. This leads to feelings of failure, doubt, and allows our fears to fester. In these moments, be the adult in the situation and tell the child in you to move forward.
Eliminate all distractions
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Your journey, wherever it may take you, begins with the first step. Distractions prevent that. Eliminate any distraction, aka excuse that prevents you from accomplishing what you set out to do. Distractions can also be self sabotage. Fear of achieving can be just as strong as fear of failure.
Be your own savior
“Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.”
Don’t rely on others to get started on your journey. They might be just as afraid as you and might not start. Make your journey about you, and only you, regardless of the company.
Set your course
“Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
You know where you want to end up because you’ve seen it in your mind. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Set a course to where you desire to end up and follow it. If you want to take the island, burn the boats. Make there no way to turnback.
“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.”
Fear will keep you from starting. It will also make you quit. Far too many times people quit right before the miracle happens. Find your why, write on your brain, and remember it. Then race for the finish. You’ll be glad you did.
The Buddha taught me about relationships as well. You can read that article here:
Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain.
One thing we can all count on is that in life we will encounter storms. Turbulent times that sometimes shake us to the bone. But Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain.
When we go through troubling times, we as humans doubt ourselves, our decisions, our choices, or even our lifestyle. We can feel not good enough. We can second guess ourselves. With some, it can become a habit.
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
Doubt can and will make the storms in life longer, and more frequent occurrences. Doubt is the biggest killer of dreams in a person. When we doubt ourselves, we freeze up for fear of failure, rejection, pain, or humiliation.
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
So how do we break the cycle of doubt in ourselves and in our lives, so when the storms of life appear, we can dance in the rain? Here are some suggestions that might help.
Every Day Is A Free Reset from The Day Before
Buddha said, “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now”. Living in the moment is the easiest way to not allow the past to influence your today. Yes, you made a mistake, maybe even a huge mistake. But each new day you are given is a chance to do better. It’s a free reset from the day before.
Imagine walking forward but looking backwards. It wouldn’t be pretty. You wouldn’t make any progress because you would not be going in the best direction for the simple fact that you can’t see what’s in front of you. You could also encounter something more dangerous that you could not see in your path.
It’s okay to visit the past, just don’t park there.
— Joseph Binning
Like A Snake Sheds Its Skin, Shed Your Past Every Day
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. With each storm we encounter, we must make decisions. Some will be wrong, but some will be right. Learn from them and remember them.
Stay away from the self-defeating attitude of self-doubt. Forgive yourself for yesterday and charge forward into today.
Just Because It Didn’t Work This Time Does Not Mean It Won’t Work.
Relationships are a splendid example of this. I’ve heard it said by friends after a breakup that they will never be in a relationship ever again. That is a genuine sentiment for them.
Focusing on the pain and hurt of the end will dampen the memory of what was good. Try to focus on the good so you can repeat it. Be honest about what didn’t work and try not to repeat it.
Failure Is Not the Opposite of Success, Its Part of It.
Michael Jordan, one of professional basketball greatest legends, was told by his High School coach he was too small to play basketball.
They fired Walt Disney from a newspaper job for lack of originality and lack of imagination.
Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times before his invention finally worked. He called it the light bulb.
Stephen King’s threw away his first book, Carrie. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it. And the rest is history.
During Vincent Van Gogh’s lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he continued painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, some are worth hundreds of millions of dollars each.
Remember That Whoever Is Trying to Bring You Down Is Already Beneath You
Some people have a way of projecting their fears onto us, some without even knowing it. Sometimes people will try to convince us we cannot do something because they are or were too afraid to try themselves. Some people are just ugly inside and project it outwards.
Always remember that just because someone says something does not make it true. Everyone may have an opinion of you. Just remember you also have the right to believe something different from what they believe. And its okay.
Happy Ever After Begins with Happy
When the storms come, and they will, don’t fear them, embrace them. Your attitude on how you deal with any situation will always determine its outcome. If you say you can or can’t, you are correct. If you say you can’t, it means you won’t.
Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain is a metaphor for not allowing life’s storms to upset your happiness. By choosing to be happy everything is manageable. Happiness is not external and depending on outside circumstances. Happiness is an internal choice.
Here is another article I think you might enjoy on this subject: