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No strings attached

O, season of giving; you are upon us!! (Speaking of giving, please be sure to read all the way to the end. You might be interested in a gift there for you.)

Revisiting a musing from two years ago: Giving gifts, especially at this time of year, can be fraught with anxiety or expectations. It is very easy to get all tied up in knots over: Have I picked the right thing? Have I spent too much or too little? Am I expected to give this one or that one a gift? These are givers who want to follow the rules and they can make themselves crazy.

Then there are those who have expectations of return: Here is my mother's heirloom necklace. I saved this newspaper from the day you were born. This book means a lot to me -- it's signed by the author, and now I'm giving it to you. These are givers who believe they are bestowing meaning (their meaning, of course) and you should not be surprised if they expect praise and adulation in return for their "thoughtfulness."

There are givers who only operate from a place of obligation: Well, I have to give something to Bob if I give something to Marsha. My postman is terrible with my mail, but I have to tip her or she'll deliberately be even worse. I haven't spoken to my sister-in-law in years but she always sends a gift, so I do too. These are givers who begrudge the holidays.

Of course, for many, including those above, sometimes giving can be a joyful, playful, genuinely fun experience. Still, anyone can feel a bit overwhelmed in this month of uber-giving.

No matter what your approach to giving may be, remember this: When you give, let go. If you give generously; if you cannot be as profligate as other years; if your gifts are homemade or store bought, cleverly thought through or re-gifts -- no matter what, when you give, let go. No strings attached. Let go of how you feel about giving. Let go of expectations on the recipient.

Give. Just give. Then, let go. No strings attached.




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