(picture taken somewhere in Center City, Philadelphia, I saw it on a pole and just had to take a pic!)
i have purchased a book a few months ago, and it’s called “Priceless Gifts” (How to Give the Best to Those You Love) and is written by a psychologist, Daniel A. Sugarman, Ph.D. He is a clinical psychologist and the book was published in the 1970’s. 1978 to be exact. I haven’t read the book yet but I will.
I read the list of gifts on the back cover. Even though it was written decades ago, the twelve gifts that the man lists are timeless and still apply today.
They are psychological gifts, not material gifts. This book, even though I haven’t read most of it yet, inspired me to create a list of my own, of priceless psychological /immaterial gifts that I believe are incredible to bless others with and to receive.
While my list is inspired by this doctor’s list, not all of the gifts I list here are ones in his book and the descriptions underneath each gift, even the gifts I took out of the book, are my own. Next to each gift that is also in his book, I will state that I got it out of the book.
1.) The Gift of Time(in the book):
Being with someone who needs/wants you at that moment is an amazing gift. Whether you are having fun doing entertaining activities, talking to one another, or just sitting close to show you care when a person wants company is an amazing gift. It shows the person that you care enough to take part of your day and make that person your top priority at that moment. What better way to make that person feel loved, valuable, and cherished!?
2.) The Gift of Active Listening/ Undivided Attention (in the book) :
We usually hear what people say and respond. But how often are we truly, fully listening? It seems we are frequently only partially or half listening while multitasking, doing other things while a person talks to us, mindlessly/mechanically responding. This is not being fully receptive of or acknowledging that person’s needs and desires at that moment. Even if you accurately hear what that person says and even provide a relevant, pleasant sounding response, that is not always good enough. A person can tell when you are not fully present even if you don’t know the person can tell and maybe even if that person doesn’t consciously know it or realize it at that moment. Make the person feel s/he is the center of your world at that moment. It can be quite offensive spilling your guts to someone only to realize that person is playing with a phone, texting someone else, watching TV, drifting off, or off somewhere daydreaming giving you empty, half mutters while you speak. Whether the person is talking to you about light topics such as her favorite food, book, or movie, or more deep topics such as his problems, pain, future dreams, that person wants your attention! S/he cares enough and believes you are important enough to talk to and trusts you enough to share with you so repay the gift and really, truly listen fully with your whole heart and drown out everything else while that person speaks. (unless you’re driving or something, be careful!)
3.) The Beautiful Gift of Loyalty:
When a person shares secrets with you, s/he expects you to keep them to yourself. It’s not good to blab them to anyone. Many of us have someone we believe we can trust with someone else’s secrets but then the person we trust may also have a person or persons s/he trusts and may tell the person’s secrets to that person thinking it’s Ok to tell and that it will stop there. But then that person tells people and on and on and that’s how “secrets” get around. It’s not that the people who tell other people’s secrets are necessarily bad people and likely they don’t want to sabotage or hurt anyone. They just want to talk and be the big bearer of “news” but it does not always go over too well. So when a trusting person comes to you, it’s best to let that person’s secrets stop when they get to you. (unless it’s potentially life threatening.)
And it’s also best not to gossip about or judge a person, negatively, who trusts you, with other people. Be loyal and true to the person who opens up to you. It’s unkind and a betrayal to trash talk the person or spill their info out to others. Let the person come to you and be a true friend and listener. That is a true gift. And if you are being truly loyal you won’t join in when you hear other people saying unnecessary negative things about your friend.
4.) The Gift of Acceptance (In the book) :
Just about everyone we meet is going to have at least one (probably more) opinion, trait, characteristic, or thing about him/her that we will not agree with or not like. But that does not mean we have to give the person up or not like the person or reject the person or try to change him/her. We can gently state our opinion in a kind way if it’s truly necessary and intended to help or connect with someone and then be done with it. But we can accept the person for all that person is. “Flaws” and all. We can disagree, argue, debate, but still love, cherish, tolerate, and accept. We don’t all have to be identical to get along well and love.
“I ain’t lookin’ for you to feel like me
See like me or be like me
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.” ~Bob Dylan
5.) The Gift of Positive Support:
I think just about everyone desires and craves the true support of a great friend or family member or others. Humans are social creatures and like to belong and be accepted and want positive encouragement. We may not always agree with something a family member or friend thinks or does but we should want to see the person happy and healthy no matter what. And we can still support a person, in general, even when that person does something we oppose or thinks something we disagree with.
As stated in the above gift description, we can gently and kindly state how we feel when necessary, and allow the person to think or do as s/he pleases without interference, rejection, and negative judgment. Unless a person is struggling with unsound judgment as a result of illness of any kind or alcohol or other drug intoxication, and wants to do something potentially life threatening to the person or others, we should support the person in her goals and be happy she is happy no matter what.
This also goes when a person accomplishes or attains something we wish we will gain or accomplish. A little bit of jealousy is a normal emotion and is Ok. But don’t let it destroy your friendships or other relationships and happiness for that person. People will always have things we want and can’t or won’t get but we can still be happy for them even though we may feel somewhat jealous or disappointed for ourselves not having it.
6.) The Gift of Sharing/ Self Disclosure (in the book) :
It is a true gift to others to hear of or read of your own problems and struggles, successes and dreams, pain, goals, failings, life lessons, and happiness. It can remind them that they are not alone and it can inspire them to feel happier and act on their dreams and it helps them get to know you and connect with you on a deeper level and trust you more. It may help them open up and share their own stories more comfortably. Sharing is caring! A healthy balance of Sharing with others and actively listening to them speak is amazing! What a true gift!
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ~ Muriel Rukeyser
7.) The Gift of Seeing the best in people (in the book) :
Everyone has things about them that are good and bad. No one is perfect in everyone’s eyes. Even the best people you know will have pain, setbacks, problems, failings, struggles, and negative aspects about their lives but instead of focusing on the worst in them, focus on the best!
Let the person know you cherish her/him and support her/him in her endeavors no matter what and that the good is what stands out. People want to be around those who lift them up and appreciate the great and not just criticize the bad. Think of your own “bad” or “negative” qualities. Would you like to be around people who can’t get over them and always point them out and criticize you over them? Or do you want to be in the company of people who love and nourish and cherish your amazing qualities and overlook and accept the bad? Give that gift to others! 😀
And try this: instead of saying “I love you but…..” try saying “….. but I love you!”.
8.) The Gift of letting them make their own decisions without negative judgment :
Many friends or others may want and seek your input on some things and want to know how you feel and if you are true, close friends, they will likely cherish and appreciate your desire to help and your willingness to open up and contribute to their lives. But this doesn’t mean they will or should always take heed of your suggestions or advice. In the end the decision is theirs. It is their life and they are responsible for their own life. The ultimate decision is theirs. They may not always make decisions that you like or want but you don’t have to negatively judge them or criticize them for it. And you don’t have to feel coldly rejected or seriously crushed if they should choose to not do what you suggest. It doesn’t mean they don’t value your opinions or take you seriously, just that in some cases, they have different needs or views. Provide your input and let them know you are right by their side no matter what they choose and if things do not work out well, you are still right here to help them see it through.
It is good for people to allow others the space and liberty to mess up, make mistakes, experiment, be uncertain, but still support them in their attempts and experiences with true, unconditional love, acceptance, and loyalty. What better gift in this life than a friend like this?!
9.) The Gift of True Empathy:
This isn’t to say we should “feel sorry” for people in an arrogant way as if we are somehow above that person or more fortunate than that person. It is to say that we should acknowledge that other people are just as sentient as we, ourselves are. They can feel like we can and they have needs and desires as well as we do. And we should really try to a certain extent to understand how that person must feel even if we haven’t experienced the exact same thing. Not to say “I know how you feel”. That can seem cold and like you are overstepping your boundaries. The truth is unless you can literally get into someone else ‘s head you don’t know exactly how that person feels whether or not you have similar experiences. But we can have some degree of understanding and much compassion and concern for another person. Whether we know the person or not.
We all have pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, and we can use our imaginations and draw on our own experiences to empathize with someone even if our experiences aren’t exactly the same. Having empathy for animals is also important.
10.) The Gift of Unconditional Love:
True love, to me, is unconditional. If I truly love someone, no matter what that person says or does, I will continue to love. I may feel the need to distance myself in certain ways if that person is doing things, excessively, that are detrimental to myself but my love will not falter or decrease. This even goes for people who want to live without me in their lives. I will be unhappy, crushed, that they feel the need to abandon, reject, or give me up but I want them to be happy with or without me. And I will not stand in the way.
11.) The Gift of True Friendship:
As stated above, even if I must distance myself permanently or temporarily, if someone is my friend, I will always be here as a friend or supporter if that person should need or want me. I may never hang out with or have deep conversations with that person again but I can still wish her the best. I will not reject a friend over disagreements or differences no matter what. I want to know the good and the bad, the happiness and the sadness in the person’s life. I want to write or talk, just to say hello some occasions, I want to see the person and bask in his/her successes and be a true listener and console during moments of stress or pain. I don’t want to be an “occasional” or “seasonal” friend who comes and goes or one who makes pathetic excuses to never hang out. True friends are interested in the good and the bad and will put things on hold now and then to tend to their friends when they need or want them most.
12.) The Gift of Full Forgiveness:
For both you and the other person, forgive. Let go. Even if feelings of resentment or anger reappear every now and then, in general it’s best to accept and move forward, or move on and forget and not let your body frequently fill with fury and negative energy. And not throw a mistake a friend made back into that person’s face again and again or during different arguments. A True, genuine, strong, positive, loving friendship is definitely worth forgiveness. You don’t have to always forgive everything and everyone but in general it’s probably best to try to let your body relax and ease up. This isn’t letting the person off the hook or get over on you. It’s quite the opposite. The person hurt you but no longer has power over you or your life. And if that person is a true friend and is genuinely interested in your welfare that person deserves forgiveness. And you deserve the liberty that your forgiveness will bring you.
13.) The Gift of appreciation and expression : There’s nothing better than knowing a person genuinely appreciates you and all you do. Let your friend, lover, kids, coworker, doctor, secretary, maybe even a stranger and anyone else you appreciate know just how grateful you are for that person’s presence in your life or how that person has touched you for the better. Tell them in person, send them an electronic message, a phone call, a card, or small gift, a hug, anything….just let the ones you appreciate know somehow! It will make them so thrilled!
14.) The Gift of inspiration:
Be a positive, uplifting person. Speak positively of yourself and others and the life you are blessed to know. It’s uplifting and a good example to other people and will make you feel happier and uplifted too. Care for yourself and share your wisdom with others even though some people will not welcome it. Many will! This will inspire people around you to also love and care for themselves and others. If you come up with a great idea about anything or discover an inspirational quote or beautiful poem or photo, share it with people! Bring out the best in people. Smile. Make eye contact. Say hello. Be a blessing. Be a friend.
15.) The Gift of validation/letting others give to us:
Let people think and feel how they do instead of trying to emotionally force them to believe other things. Let them express it. Your input is good but degrading, denying, and ridiculing people’s emotions is not good. If someone is in a bad mood, trying to cheer that person up is sweet but telling the person to “get over it” or that there’s nothing to be feeling low about or criticizing the person ‘s low mood is often detrimental, aggravating, and not helpful.
You don’t have to lower your own mood to match theirs; you can find a good balance to console them.
And when someone pays you a sincere compliment, even if you disagree or are very modest, it’s good to just be happy the person feels that way about you! Saying things like “that’s not true!” or “you’re just saying that. ” or “No I’m not that good looking or intelligent ” will just invalidate the person’s positive feelings about you and deny the person the positive emotions of complimenting you. That person wants you to feel happy and pleased and the person really feels that way about you whether or not you feel it about yourself and it’s not good to tell that person s/he is wrong. A true compliment is a gift to you, why throw it back in the person’s face?! Just a sweet & simple “thank you” is a great response!
16.) The Gift of your life:
If the person is a true, trusted friend to you, share the good and the bad of your life and show genuine interest in the good and bad of that person’s. It’s not good to a person when you only want to vent or gossip and not tell your success and happy stories as well and if you have problems, big or small, a friend wants to know. So if you want to express them, don’t hold back! True friends are genuinely interested in the good and the bad. And it’s good to let your friends complain and vent to you about negative events in their lives and to take pleasure in their happiness. True friendship is about the good, the bad, everything….
“You’ve given me the best of you and now I need the rest of you.” ~ Billy Joel
17) The Gift of communication :
Tell your lover, family member, friend when that person is doing something to really affect you. If people are hurting you, they may not realize it or the extent of it. And it may not be intentional. They don’t always realize how much it impacts you. You can save a relationship or the quality of it by positively and effectively communicating. You can gently tell them that what they are doing is negatively affecting you and tell them you cherish your relationship with them and want to work on it for the better. And don’t just tell the bad things! Celebrate and acknowledge the good as well! Communication is very important in ANY kind of relationship!
These are just some things I find crucial to relationships of any kind and beautiful blessings to people. I believe they are good for people in general. And when you give these lovely gifts, you not only bless the person but you, yourself will be blessed. You may disagree with some of them or many of them. Or all of them?! ;-D
My intention is NOT to tell people what they should do or have to do or to negatively judge people who do not do these things! I don’t always do all of them myself and I make mistakes but I try my best to frequently live this way and I truly believe these are great and priceless gifts to others. I don’t like to tell people how they should live or what they should do! Who am I to do that! I’m in no position for that! Of course I’m not! But I do love to provide suggestions in case they will help people and share what helps and inspires me. If someone is not inspired and does not want to take my suggestions, that’s ok! Whatever floats your boat! 😉