Better gift giving – what’s the secret?
There are certain times of year when giving is in the spotlight. And there are plenty of articles out there with advice on how to do it better. But there’s one crucial thing most of them fail to mention.
What’s your real relationship with giving?
Giving can feel wonderful. And it can also feel like a chore.
And even though most people would probably agree that a gift is supposed to be about the person receiving it, the truth is it’s often more about the person giving it!
Some people give in order to feel needed, or important. Others give from a sense of obligation or pressure – both social and commercial.
So if you want to get better at giving it can be helpful to examine your real relationship with it.
Giving shouldn’t come with strings or expectations
It seems an obvious statement, but it’s one that’s easy to forget!
A gift doesn’t have to be tied up in a fancy bow and wrapping.
It can be a gift to get a meal cooked for you when you’re tired; or for a friend to give you their time and attention when you need to vent about your boss.
But whether you’re doing something for someone else, or giving them access to you in some way, giving should really be about helping someone else get something they truly want.
The trouble is many of us aren’t entirely altruistic when it comes to giving.
How often do you give to receive?
Receiving is inherently vulnerable: it requires you to put your own desires out there.
And there’s always a chance that when you do that you won’t be able to get what you want, or that someone will say no to your request – and that can feel uncomfortable to contemplate.
So, in order not to feel that uncertainty or discomfort, we often try to give as a way to deflect from our own need to receive.
Or as a way to sneak our own desires in through the back door so we don’t have to actually ask for what we want.
If you’ve ever offered to give someone a massage in the hope they’ll give you one in return you’ll know what I’m talking about!
The real secret to better gift giving
If you want to get better at gift giving of all kinds (whether it comes wrapped in a box, or it’s something you’re doing for someone else) the secret is to get yourself out of the way…
Here’s a really easy way to recognise when you’re using giving as a way of trying to meet your own needs:
Notice how you feel if someone says ‘no’ to an offer you’ve made, or to something you’re trying to give them
If you’re offering a gift that’s truly for them you should feel neutral if they choose not to receive it – after all it’s meant to be for their benefit, so if they don’t want it they don’t want it, right?
If you notice you have some difficult feelings about the fact they said ‘no’ – maybe disappointment, or annoyance, or frustration – it’s a sign that there’s probably something you actually wanted for yourself hidden in the offer you made.
That’s when you need to pause, and figure out what that desire is your offer was disguising, and how you can ask for it more transparently.
Then you can really make sure you’re really giving generously, without your own needs getting in the way!
Check out my videos to learn more about the dynamics of good giving and receiving
Each quadrant in the Wheel Of Consent creates a different experience and teaches you something different about yourself. Learn more about each one:
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