Whether it’s Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or the Festivus, gifts come with the season.
We laugh at white elephant gifts (remember the Shake Weight?) but are less inclined to accept the gifts that seem to be borderline insults. You know, those trinkets that have inklings of “drugstore clearance section” and drive you toward Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments.
In the spirit of the season, we ask, “Can you be appreciative of those ostensibly lack lustered gifts and moments?”
We understand it’s hard when you receive the anti-aging cream from your same-age cousin. We can imagine the difficulty when the pajamas from your neighbors—whose packages you sign for! — are two sizes too big for you. It’s tricky to experience gratitude when your aunt, who knows you’re vegan, gifts you a steakhouse dinner.
Is this really what they think of you?
How can you be appreciative when there are bad dates, piles of bills and another diet that doesn’t work? Or, when you feel trapped with your job?
When your reaction to these things comes from hurt, disappointment or anxiety you feel stuck. Unconsciously, you chain yourself to a point of view that perpetuates the problem.
Living from appreciation can release you. It ushers you into radical gratitude. Appreciation is the journey you take to answer why you feel grateful for something; it has the power to transition you into deep compassion that develops an unbreakable mindset.
When you transition from being unconscious about your judgment to being conscious of appreciation, you experience the flow of consistent positive emotions. Those emotions are the basis of extraordinary thinking and positive action.
Take Aunt Edna’s fruitcake. Seeing it as a “crappy” gift only perpetuates a “crappy” experience. Instead of grumbling through a forced smile, what if you could train your mind to instantly experience appreciation? When you live from appreciation your mind stops thinking in ways that create a battle with reality and you see that you stand on treasures. Imagine if bills, bad dates and/or bad news couldn’t knock you off your axis of feeling deep, profound gratitude?
Seeing life’s fastballs as opportunities to develop an unstoppable mindset is what practicing appreciation can bring to your life. That’s when you see your cousin’s anxiety about aging, instead of an insulting gift. Aunt Edna’s fruitcake reflects that wonderful part of her caring nature. And your neighbors…they’re so overworked that they don’t pay attention to details.
Appreciation allows you to see people’s wounds as well as your own; it allows you to show up for yourself and others. Appreciation takes up so much space that anger, fear, and anxiety have no room to grow. It opens the door to a world of love, compassion, and connection.
As you gather with loved ones this season we encourage you to practice appreciation. Take a moment for yourself— even if it has to be a parking lot moment to consider the people around you and what led them to be who they are. What is the honest, decent intention behind that seemingly insulting gift or that ridiculous statement? We challenge you to find the love in it because it is there. Love is always there, it is only our job to find it.
Don’t just unwrap gifts. Unwrap your empathy, your compassion, and your radical gratitude. See what happens when you appreciate the brick-like fruitcake, imitation perfume, and white tube socks. What do you see? What do you feel? What is really there?
We at Productive Learning appreciate your hard work, your life stories and your dedication to creating an extraordinary experience of life. We wish you and your family health and happiness in 2018 and always. May you, and those closest to you, feel the depth of your gratitude and may that feeling unite us all in blissful harmony.
Happy, Merry Everything!