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This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post on 5 Gifts to Inspire Others

3. Surprise.

Have someone in your life who infuriates you? Or in my case, has a driver cut you off in traffic and gave you the gift of his middle finger?

Instead of the usual reaction, why not give the gift of the unexpected response?

It will be difficult to change your reaction automatically and it takes some time to do so, but it’s worth it.

How about, for example, agreeing with the relative who always wants to argue or saying something kind to the person expecting you to fire back? It worked for me as I decided to smile and laugh about the angry fella who thought a finger could ruin my day. Diffusing anger with kindness is a well-worthy gift if not for them, for your sake.

4. Peace (and quiet).

I went to Point Reyes twice this year, once for my birthday and a second time just because. It was a far drive and an expensive retreat, but well-worth it. I hope you can take the time to give yourself this same gift.

While everyone takes a vacation, not everyone goes on retreat. But let me tell you what a difference the two make. Vacations are wonderful for relaxing, for seeing the sights for seeing the world in a new light. But while you come back with memories and souvenirs on vacation, you return with lifelong gifts while on retreat.

Sitting in quiet where you can only hear the sound of your breath or footsteps on a creaking floor or the sounds of the wind whistling through the leaves of an old tree, are like cashmere for your soul. Everyone needs a place to go where they have the space and energy to hear nothing, but their voice. Go there and you will come back with enough fuel and positive experience to inspire others.

5. Generosity.

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My husband has a tremendous heart. But I often joke that he is stingy with his words (as in he’s too quiet sometimes). This being said by a fellow introvert. But joking aside, I do think this is the season for giving. And while #1-4 are all about giving, this I believe, is the number one gift you should give this holiday-to yourself and others.

Generosity is a huge gift and there are a myriad of ways you can give it to others. Besides donating time (volunteering) and money (donations), you can give the gift of compassion, empathy, love and friendship. This means really REALLY listening to your loved ones when they tell you and show you how they feel. This means NOT brushing them away with a, “Oh you’ll be fine!” or “Cheer up!” when their upset. This means being present and offering up yourself in really empathizing and being there for them. Isn’t that a gift they deserve for being gracious enough to let us in?

It’s so easy in this day and age to be attached to our digital toys and ignore the people we love the most (ourselves included!). But it’s that much more important to turn them off and turn on who we are and be as present and open as we can.

Being generous by giving of ourselves is a profound gift we can give. It can change lives. It can determine your children’s future. It can alter the future of our whole world.

Isn’t that what we want the most for our kids and for everyone?

Let’s remember this before we bemoaned our financial inability to buy the most expensive and impressive gifts. I hope this will be an opportunity for all of us to rise to the occasion and better our lives and situations for each other.

Happy Holidays!

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