Tag Archive | relationships

Thou shalt not steal

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Recently I heard Christian people on the radio talking about the Ten Commandments in Biblical Scripture. I’m not a Christian woman but find their conversation deeply inspiring. The men were saying the language (I forget which one but for this post it’s not very important anyway. I think it may be Hebrew?) directly translates into English as “Do not steal”  but often we hear\read “thou shalt not steal.” The men said this second phrase “thou shalt not steal” is much more powerful than “do not steal” and before they started explaining I was a bit confused. At first glance, at least to me, a command such as “Do not steal” seems more direct and assertive, even threatening, than “you should not steal.” Telling me not to do something can be an implicit threat or warning “Do not…or else..” where telling me I shouldn’t do something seems a bit more passive or laid back. It doesn’t seem like a command or demand. It’s more like just someone’s little opinion.

I’m not a big fan of telling others or myself what we should or should not do. I think “should” can be too limiting and contribute to feelings of failing or too much pressure. But soon I realized what these Christian men were talking about and it’s very powerful and can apply to us all, not just Christian and other religious people.

“Should” or “should not” is more like an internal thing while someone else’s commands, laws, rules, threats, abuse, opinion…..are external and cannot affect us if we do not let them. “Do not….because I said so” is authoritarian and someone else’s rule slapped onto us. It may or may not be a good rule but it’s external and we can rise above whereas “should” is something moral, internal. Of course someone else’s opinion of “should” is external and “should” is subjective but it’s more of an internal truth.

There are some things, in my opinion, we really should not do, like kill innocent beings, steal, spread vicious gossip, sexually assault….to name a few. That’s my truth and it’s more powerful than someone else telling me not to. It’s illegal for me to kill an innocent human but it runs deeper than the law telling me not to; I truly believe I should not kill an innocent person (or any innocent sentient being) and if I ever did I would have a bigger problem than being in legal trouble. I would have an internal struggle knowing I did something very wrong that resulted in the pain or ending of someone else. It’s not illegal to kill most insects at least where I live, and I don’t negatively judge those who do, but I do not kill them on purpose and when I do accidentally, I have a struggle within. And there are occasions people said things to me meant to have an effect I did not allow it to have. There are occasions I experienced domestic violence and was physically forced to do or not do something that wasn’t my choice but I did not let it destroy me and know it’s not a reflection of who I am and that this life is still beautiful with so many beautiful things and I kept my mind calm even though externally it was chaos. When I am abused the abuser is degrading itself, not me. Murderers, sexual predators, bullies, those engaging in vicious gossip only degrade themselves not those they hurt or try to hurt. We may be hurt, broken, devastated, traumatized, petrified, bleeding, bruised…..but we are not as destroyed as those who tried to destroy us. And we can stand up & rise again.

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(not my photo)

Abuse of any kind, vicious lies being told about us, others trying to control us, societal expectations…..these are all external and can affect us greatly if we allow it. But with work, practice, meditation, self exploration, self love, other positive things….we can rise above and others cannot touch us. Even if they do physically, it will not drag and keep us down or touch our essence. What matters is what we know, our own truth, knowing, attitude.

It’s what’s inside that is more powerful than the outside.

Much love & light to you always! Thank you to everyone who reads my content & those who comment! When I see a comment I always or almost always respond usually with a comment back or a “like” and if I seem to ignore it it’s very likely I did not see it. I appreciate every comment & everyone who reads! I have a whole lot of catching up to do! I got a new job recently and worked nineteen days in a row! But I love it! ❤😍😀

~Hugs~

xoxo Kim 

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The Most important relationship is…<3

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~Be someone who makes everyone feel like someone.~ ❤

Recently, I was at the synagogue with my good friend, Mike, for the Jewish new year. I met him in college years ago and we are still good friends. His family warmly & lovingly invites me to their houses often for their holidays. 

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(my friends, Jim, Charlie, Mike, and me in New York City, a few years ago one sweet Spring day <3) 😀

We attended a beautiful event at the synagogue a few weeks ago where we sat under the stars at night drinking tea and singing and connecting, and the rabbi asked us which relationships in life are most important and there were various answers. The obvious ones were of course, our relationships with friends & family. Other answers were coworkers, God, our own self, the synagogue family. I was thinking that our relationship with everyone is important. Not just our longterm relationships but even just brief encounters with others each day. I did not say this out loud but one man volunteered his answer which was extremely similar to my own. He said our most important relationship is the one we have with everyone, just in general. 

I couldn't agree more. My most important relationship is the one with whoever it is I'm currently engaging with whether that someone is a friend, a family member, someone I am close with, someone I hardly know, a customer at work, a coworker, a sales person, a bus driver, an animal/pet, an insect, a person I would rather not be around, a doctor, a boss, a person I meet walking up a street or in a park or in traffic….whoever I am right here with, right now. It's important to give that person my full, undivided attention. It's important to be mindful of what is right before me in this moment.

It's all that matters. Let's listen, truly listen when someone is talking. Let's not zone out and think about future plans or food or our phone or whatever we may want when someone is in our presence and attempting to communicate with us. Even if what the person is saying doesn't interest us, it's important to that person so we can make it important to us. This won't always be easy, mindfulness takes practice and our minds tend to stray now and then. 

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Right now is our most important moments. And whoever is with us is our most important relationship at that moment. (in my opinion. I understand someone else may have a different view.)

This takes me back to 11th grade when our English teacher told us that every encounter we have with someone, no matter how brief, even someone we may never see again, is a relationship worth nurturing the best we can. He gave an example of a seemingly trivial encounter, with a bus driver.

But he explained the importance of even an encounter like that. Getting on a bus, putting money in, is part of our life and it’s good to make it a positive part. Be friendly to the bus driver. 

I did not completely realize the wisdom of what he told us back then but I felt that it is somehow important. Now I know. 

One little encounter can have a profound effect on someone. For better or worse. We have the ability to choose words, gestures, actions…that can lift someone or potentially drag someone down. Let’s choose to lift others up. 

Let’s make everyone feel like someone. 

❤ 😀

Also, this is one of the songs we sang at the synagogue. “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds. It was beautiful to hear all the people singing together. 

Turn! Turn! Turn! – mobile

Turn! Turn! Turn! – desktop

Lotsa, Lotsa love to you! 😀

Xoxo Kim ❤

Social Media – Developing Healthy Skills and Balance

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I received a lifehack e-mail with a link to a list of reasons why social media can be detrimental to our health.

It’s titled, 
You Should Be Aware Of These 10 Effects Of Social Media On You

By Amanda Rife 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/you-should-aware-these-10-effects-social-media-you.html

Amanda Rife writes:

“Technology is a useful tool, but many people don’t know how to use it properly which can easily become damaging. As much as you may love your Twitter page is it really worth the toll it takes on your health? That’s for you to decide after you read the following 10 ways social media negatively effects your life:”

She brings up some interesting and important issues and great points with some basis of truth to them and I am elaborating and adding my own views about each one, here.

After each number is her reason why social media may be damaging to us. Under each reason is her view and under each of her views is my own opinion.

1.) Reduces person to person interaction.

Amanda Rife writes:
“Not only do you spend less quality time with is people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed by you when you’re paying more attention to an electronic device than them. Eventually the people around you will even stop wanting to hang out with you.”

My view: We have complete control over how frequently and in which ways we use our social media accounts and our phones, computers, laptops, ipads…and whatever else we use to connect to a social media resource. Connecting with people online and seeing people in person are both great and both have advantages that the other does not. One doesn’t have to take the place of the other one. Social media allows us to share photos, statuses, posts..and comment, tag each other in ways we can’t do in person and allows us to meet people and reconnect with people we would have never met or encountered again if not for social media. Seeing each other in person is different than seeing each other through a screen, we can hang out, look into each other’s eyes(if we can see), hear each other’s voices(if you’re a hearing person), have coffee, tea, food together, laugh together… They’re both great and we don’t have to give up one for the other. It’s all about balance. You can put your phone away when you’re out with someone in person and just because you “see” that person online everyday doesn’t mean you don’t have/want to see the person in person when you can. Social media doesn’t control you if you don’t allow it to.

2.)  Increases your cravings for attention drastically.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Posting vague statuses on Facebook to grab others attention could easily become a nasty habit for people who use social media frequently. The never ending competition for likes and notifications can consume you.”

My view: What can be said about this (and other points brought up here) goes beyond the scope of this post. Many of these are deep psychological issues/aspects that are issues that can have posts of their own. Example: What Amanda Rife states here is true for some people. They need “likes” and comments and shares to feel validated and they want competition, to get more love than others. But that’s not Social media’s fault. That’s an inner issue of the individual self. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to get that kind of attention, to get “likes,” comments, shares…and while it’s great to have that kind of attention, it’s an honor to know that people like us and our content and there’s nothing wrong with desiring it, it’s an indication of a problem to feel that we need it to make us feel worthy or important. It’s a sign of a psychological problem that needs awareness and tending to if we become literally depressed or anxious or feeling excessively low to the point it seriously affects our lives if we don’t get attention on social media. I think the inner problem is what needs to be addressed, not just push it under the rug by criticizing or getting rid of social media for it. It may be helpful to lay off the social media accounts if we are the kind of person to need attention to validate us. It may be very helpful to stay off twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…but that psychological problem of ours will still be there and may manifest in other ways if we get rid of our social media accounts. It’s not social media, it’s us. Social media can be our wake-up call, to help us realize we have a problem, not caused by social media, but being triggered by the opportunities it allows. We can then use this realization to our advantage, working on and exploring problems we would have not known we have if not for social media bringing our attention to it.

3.) Distracts from life goals.

Amanda Rife writes:

“It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in social media that people will neglect their real life goals. Instead of aiming for the dream job by obtaining useful skills people, especially younger people, tend to strive for internet stardom.”

My view: Again, this is something we have complete control over. We can use the Internet and social media for just the opposite, to inspire us and motivate us to fulfill our goals and even come up with new ones. We can meet people, discover new ideas, and have our creativity sparked by the people and things we encounter through social media. Anything can distract us so we don’t work on our goals, TV, work, laziness, and more, we can get wrapped up into anything and become a slacker, not just social media. It’s great and very effective to manage our amount of time spent on each thing that takes up part of each day, not let one take over everyday.

4.) It can lead to a higher risk of depression.

Amanda Rife writes:

“According to recent studies the more people used social media the more negative feelings they experience, including depression. This could partiulalrly harmful to people who have been previously diagnosed with depression. If you beginning to notice you’re feeling down on a regular basis it’s probably time to take a break from your many social media.”

My view: This is probably for different reasons for different people. I suspect one of the the main culprits is negative comparison. We know how our lives really are, every aspect, every event, every thought, every problem…but with everyone else, we only see what they choose to reveal. Some people only reveal the positive aspects of their lives and keep the pain and problems hidden. For some, this is because they want everyone to truly believe they have The Perfect Life, for others it’s not that they want, necessarily, to be judged as having a perfect life, but they fear being judged negatively if they complain on social media outlets, for others still, it’s not at all about coming off as being perfect but they want to use their social media accounts just for uplifting quotes and happy thoughts, as opposed to using them to vent or disclose unpleasant situations or thoughts. They just aren’t drawn to sharing their whole lives, pleasant and unpleasant. When we are struggling and we see photos, posts, and all kinds of happy updates by people who seem to have it all, this can contribute to us feeling low about our own lives. And if we are prone to true depression, it can trigger an episode or the onset of a full blown disorder. A couple of other culprits of social media contributing to depression are cyber- bullying and friend rejection, people blocking and unfriending others, not responding to requests or comments and messages. If you’re prone to depression, this can be a serious trigger. 

Giving up all of social media may be a solution for some but I think the underlying depression and/or insecurity is what mostly needs to be addressed.

5.) Relationships are more likely to fail.

Amanda Rife writes:

“No good comes out of online displays of jealousy and snooping. It may seem like an easy option when it comes to dealing with relationships, but in reality it does more damage than good. In fact, studies show that the more a person uses Facebook the more likely they will be to monitor their partner, which leads to arguments and crumbling relationships.”

My view: Again, this is not social media’s fault but the fault of the persons involved. It’s how we go about handling our circumstances while also using social media. Relationships and the use of social media are compatible. We have to use our common sense about what is wise to do and not do in terms of social media. Or learn what to do and not to do if it’s not common sense to us. It’s all about our underlying insecurities and issues, not the social media. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to see and reveal all kinds of stuff that can bring out our insanity if we allow it to. We don’t need social media to spy on or stalk people, it just makes it easier to engage in those unhealthy things. If we feel a strong desire or need to obsessively monitor our lover every second of every day , the problem is either us or the lover. Maybe I’m very insecure and my lover is trustworthy. Or maybe I’m not overly insecure but he is being really suspicious and there is some reasonable explanation for my monitoring.

But the true underlying problems would likely be there with or without social media because they lie within us. They are what need to be addressed.

6.) Excessive use of social media stunts creativity.

Amanda Rife writes:

“I can speak from personal experience that social media is the easiest way to stunt, or kill, the creative process. Surfing social media sites, especially Tumblr. in this scenario, has a numbing effect on the mind that’s similar to mindlessly watching television. If you plan on being productive today shut off those apps!”

My view: This definitely has some truth to it and the word “excessive” is the key word here. Nothing is good in excessive amounts, that’s why it’s excessive! It’s also about being mindful and active in all that we do. Mindlessly scrolling through a bunch of mindless drivel thrown about by others is bound to numb anyone’s creativity and decrease our IQ a few points! But when we are mindful of what we’re reading or looking at and fully engaged, our creativity can deepen and we can come up with new ideas. While looking at pics on Tumblr, reading blog posts, Facebook statuses, or anything else, it will benefit you to pay close attention to what you are doing, thinking, feeling, reading. Is it serving you well? Is it inspiring you, motivating you, challenging you? Do you feel peaceful, calm, happy? Or is it just mind numbing stuff you’re surfing through because you feel you have nothing better to do? If so, you definitely have better things you can be doing! Finding something else to read or look at, meditate, tune into your surroundings, the scents, the feelings, the sounds, the colors and textures…your possibilities are endless.

7.) Cyber bullying is alive and well.

Amanda Rife writes:

“People feel too comfortable on the web and say things they wouldn’t normally say in real life. If you’re not the one say horrible things, you’re still inevitably going to be exposed to it. And if you are one of the people talking trash? Cut it out! You’re not as anonymous as you think. With the rampant cyber bullying on the web, people are also becoming more rude off the web as well.” 

My view: This is so true. Cyber-bullying is something we have little control over for the most part. For those of us who aren’t cyber-bullies, we still have to witness it or just really negative, uncalled for comments everywhere. Have you seen the YouTube comments on even the most inspiring, positive, beautiful, uplifting videos?! Good grief, they’re horrible. I rarely even read the comments because they’re so dumb and uncalled for. Internet trolls are everywhere and unfortunately here to stay. I suggest you don’t feed them. It’s what they want. So let’s let them starve. They are people who feel so low about themselves and their own lives so they insist on attempting to drag others down with them.

And it can crush our spirit to see even when it’s not happening to us, personally. Being a witness to uncalled for negativity can be so life-draining. But we can develop habits and skills to not let it get to us to the point it’s overwhelming and leads us to depression or anxiety. We can stand un-buffeted against the negative attention seekers who get off on inflicting pain upon others just for thrills. Focus on your own positive qualities and all the love and positivity you receive and remember as much as it sucks being bullied or being the target of cruelty, it has to suck way more being a bully. To sink to that level, there has to be something seriously wrong. Pay the callous comments no mind, I suggest you don’t respond to bullies directly but when you see it happening to someone, you can write positive things to the person to uplift her/him.

8.) Constantly comparing yourself to others online will make you miserable.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The digital persona people display on Facebook is often much different that what actually goes on in their lives. After awhile you may feel like you know your online aquainences better than you do, creating a social gap. Try to remember that everyone is just as human as you are.”

My view: Like I said in response to #4 about depression, negative comparisons aren’t good. It’s not healthy for us. When we’re comparing ourselves negatively to others we’re either making ourselves out to not be as good or making ourselves out to somehow be above the other person/people. It’s uncalled for. We all have good things and bad things and it’s all about our attitude. We can’t control what other people put on social media but we can control our own attitudes and reactions. Like Amanda Rife says, we are all equally human. Focus on the goodness of yourself. Bask in your own beauty while truly, relishing the beauty of others. 

Let other people’s happiness, accomplishments, success, and beauty inspire you and motivate you, not depress you or trigger jealousy.

If you really feel utterly miserable because of someone else on social media accounts, analyze yourself, think about why this is. Do you feel like you are lacking in some respects? Missing out? Then do something to fulfill yourself. It doesn’t matter what others think. Do what you have to to bring joy to yourself as long as you are not hurting or directly interfering with others. And if someone is trying to intentionally make others jealous, unhappy, miserable, you can unfriend, block, ignore that person and get on with your own life.

9.) Loss of sleep.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The light emitted from your various electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time for you to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is already difficult enough without extra complications. Perhaps it’s best if your phone doesn’t stay with you though the night.”

My view: This is true but has nothing to do with social media itself, really. If we have our phones by our side in bed, we may see the little flashing lights, hear beeping or other sounds, or just be so tempted to check Facebook and other things. Over and over and over. But this has to do with discipline. Self control. Get into the habit of sleeping at night, not playing with phones. If it’s really too difficult, the phone can be put in a different room while going to sleep to make the temptation less irresistible.

After a while it becomes a habit. Then it will be easier and easier to resist until eventually your brain is trained to not think of that phone and Facebook or Twitter at night. 

10.) Lack of privacy.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Between social media websites saving (and selling) your personal data and the whole NSA mess involving unsolicited government access of personal data including email, Skype calls, and so much more it’s very clear that privacy and the internet don’t mix at this point in time. If you post every last thought that pops into your head it could just as easily come back to haunt you in the future.”

My view: This is really very simple. Don’t ever put on social media, anywhere including what you think are personal e-mails or inbox messages, what you don’t want everyone to see. Even if your account is blocked so only people on your list can see, someone, somewhere, can get access to it if those people really want to. Once you put something out there, it’s out there for good, somewhere, even if you delete it and it looks like it’s gone. It can be retrieved. People can get into your e-mail box and any other thing you have on the Internet. Whatever you would never want others to see, keep it to yourself or tell someone in person if you can. Any other way is not safe. But this is a choice. When we put something stupid out there, it’s on us. It’s not Social media’s wrongdoing, it’s ours. Many people don’t realize that when we put something out there into cyber-world, it’s here to stay. They think it can be easily removed because there are “delete” buttons so it’s important to educate people.

Social media itself isn’t the problem. It’s how we use it and perceive it. Social media is limited in its power over us. It mostly only has the power we allow it to have. We can empower ourselves to have a healthy, balanced, positive relationship to social media and those people we connect with online.

We can greatly benefit by developing healthy skills and habits and cultivate a positive attitude about ourselves, each other, and social media. Social media provides us with amazing opportunities and has much potential for great things. We don’t have to give it up to avoid all our problems that arise while using it. It’s ourselves we need to work on.

It’s not the use of social media that is the problem, it’s misuse.

I’m very thankful Amanda Rife brought up these important issues. It is crucial to address them in this age of social media where so many feel that it has a power and mind of its own, where people feel like victims in the face of struggles made possible by social media. Social media is a blessing, certainly not without its negative consequences and distress in some cases, but it’s definitely a positive thing if we allow it to be and use it wisely.
,
Xoxo Kim 

Priceless Gifts <3

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(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
 Lol

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! 😉

Xox0 Kim