True hol­i­day spirit

Record Observer - - Opinion - Bryan Golden is the au­thor of “Dare to Live With­out Lim­its.” Con­tact him at Bryan@colum­nist. com or visit www.DareToLiveWithoutLim­its.com. By BRYAN GOLDEN

Among other things, the hol­i­days are a time of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing gifts. The ques­tion most of­ten asked of peo­ple is, “what did you get?” Much less fre­quently asked is, “what did you give?” In­vari­ably, the inquiries con­cern ma­te­rial gifts. Pur­chas­ing a gift can cer­tainly be thought­ful and a won­der­ful ges­ture, es­pe­cially when it’s backed up by your ac­tions.

How­ever, the most valu­able presents are those that aren’t sold in stores. When you give your love, your time, help some­one in need, aid another in solv­ing a prob­lem or over­com­ing an ob­sta­cle, you give some­thing price­less.

The true spirit of the hol­i­days is giv­ing. When you give, you re­ceive. You can get any­thing in life you want by help­ing enough oth­ers get what they want. But only if you give with­out ex­pect­ing any­thing in re­turn. The im­pact of giv­ing isn’t lim­ited to just the hol­i­day sea­son, it’s some­thing that has value all year.

The power of giv­ing is of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated. When you give un­con­di­tion­ally, you don’t just im­pact the re­cip­i­ent; you start a chain re­ac­tion. By bright­en­ing the life of one per­son you also af­fect all those who they then touch.

No ges­ture of giv­ing or kind­ness is too small. Hold­ing the door open at a store, help­ing some­one carry gro­ceries to their car, let­ting another car in front of you, say­ing please and thank you, and say­ing hello to a stranger you pass on the side­walk, are some of the many things you can do daily.

For fam­ily and friends, your time is one of the most pre­cious gifts you can of­fer. Are you there for oth­ers when they need you? Do you of­fer a hand with­out be­ing asked? Do you help out when asked?

Too of­ten, peo­ple get caught up in their own de­sires, thus los­ing sight of the needs of oth­ers. A per- son who tries to get through life by look­ing out for him­self or her­self first is in­vari­ably frustrated. Of­ten this per­son views life as a com­pe­ti­tion to de­ter­mine who can ac­cu­mu­late more.

On the other hand, those who are con­cerned for the well be­ing of oth­ers are hap­pier, more con­tent, and more sat­is­fied. By giv­ing with­out ex­pect­ing, they in turn re­ceive the things they need.

Giv­ing is a sim­ple con­cept that works ever y time it is ap­plied. There will be peo­ple who don’t ap­pre­ci­ate what you do, but it doesn’t mat­ter. You are giv­ing with­out an­tic­i­pat­ing any­thing in re­turn. Be­sides, there will be many more who are thank­ful for your ef­forts.

If you don’t treat oth­ers well, buy­ing a gift won’t com­pen­sate for your be­hav­ior. The re­cip­i­ent might like what you give them but it won’t make up for your ac­tions. You can’t bribe some­one to for­give the way you treat them with a present.

The best gift you can re­ceive is the joy of mak­ing some­one else happy. Be­ing un­selfish is a won­der­ful way to live. When you give with no ul­te­rior mo­tives, your ac­tions are seen as gen­uine. Should you ex­pect some­thing in re­turn, your be­hav­ior is al­ways sus­pect. We all know peo­ple who do nice things only when they want some­thing in re­turn.

Make giv­ing a daily rou­tine. Don’t start and end with the hol­i­day sea­son. Ev­ery day is a good day to do some­thing nice. When peo­ple feel good due to your ac­tions, you can’t help but feel happy your­self. And that is price­less. The most sig­nif­i­cant ac­tion you can take is hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of oth­ers.

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