GIVE WITH INTEGRITY: It is the thought and the energy connected to the gift that counts

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Originally published at themindfulword.org blog

I was walking through a popular chain store this week, doing a little holiday shopping, when I happened to witness an unfortunate encounter between a customer and an employee.

The customer was an older man, likely in his seventies, who was all business and seemed to be in a big hurry. He was asking an employee where he could find day-of-the-week socks, which were meant to be a gift for his wife. The employee led him to the sock section in the back of the store, where he was passed off to another employee.

The man repeated his request, and the woman informed him that the socks he was looking for were at the front of the store. The man’s face turned bright red, and when the employee asked if she could take him there, he yelled, “You’re **** right you will!”

The employee managed to maintain her composure and led the man to his socks. She smiled and said, “If there’s anything else I can do for you, please let me know.” This was clearly not her first rodeo, and she maintained kindness without letting the guy get to her.

The unseen energy behind gifts

As I continued my journey through the store, all I could think about was this man’s poor wife who was going to get “rage socks” for Christmas. The incident took me back to a time in my own life, shortly after I realized how large an impact the objects in my home and gifts I had been given by others were having on me.

During this period in my life, I was going through a deep personal transformation and became aware of a lot of hidden dynamics between myself and other people. I was in the process of severing a lot of toxic relationships, and part of that process involved removing gifts given by certain individuals from my home and my life.

You see, everything in our physical reality has an “energy” that brings people, circumstances, places and objects both into existence and into our experience. The objects we have around us can represent patterns, connections, emotions, traumas, intentions and a host of other energies. The reasons we acquire things, who does the giving and why, and the energy with which a gift is given are all factors that determine how the objects we have around us affect us.

The day I realized that it is the unseen energies behind gifts and physical objects that really affect us on the deepest of levels, was the day I started making friends with the guy at the donation drop-off.

The funny thing about physicality is that two objects can look identical in all of their physical attributes, but if we were to look behind the curtain and see the energy that manifested those identical physical objects into our reality, we are likely to see a very different picture.

The day-of-the-week socks given by an angry, impatient, resentful person are very different from the day-of-the-week socks given by a kind, open-hearted, patient person. The socks given by someone rushing to get to a golf game are very different from the socks given by someone who patiently searches for the item that will bring the biggest smile to their wife’s face on Christmas.

Why and how we give are important

As we head into that time of year when gift shopping seems to be overtaking our lives, it’s important to remember why we are giving each gift. While we can’t control how and why others give us gifts, we can be mindful of how we give gifts to others.

We can buy and shop with kindness and patience. We can only give to those we truly want to give to from our hearts, rather than those we give to out of obligation. We can give without the expectation of getting something in return, rather than engaging in the unconscious “give-to-get” that so many of us do.

If we really get down to it, the reasons that we give gifts to a person can tell us all we need to know about our relationship with that person.

If we give because we want something for ourselves, that tells us that the relationship is co-dependent in some way. If we give because we feel obligated, that tells us that the relationship is lacking authenticity in some respect. If we buy something for those we care about while we are feeling anger, frustration, resentment or any other lower emotion, then those are the energies we are giving our gift with.

Having integrity in our gift-giving and being accountable to ourselves during this time of year is a really important thing to consider. The more we become conscious of why and how we give and receive, the more we become aware of relationship dynamics that might be out of alignment with what we are really wanting in our lives.

With this new perspective in mind, we might begin to look at all the objects with which we surround ourselves in a new light.

When it’s time to unload

If each of us were to take an energetic snapshot of each room in our house, we might be shocked to see the types of energies we anchor into our space through the objects we keep.

When I was going through my own personal object-unloading process, I was amazed at the energetic transformation of my space after I had rid myself of the things that acted as physical anchors of past relationships and toxic dynamics. Even people who know nothing about energy or intuition would walk into my home after “the big unload” and notice a significant difference in how they felt in my space.

If you find certain things you own or gifts you’ve been given racing through your mind as you read this, it might be time for you to unload some things as well. You don’t need to be a seasoned intuitive to start noticing what might need to go. You can begin by standing in a room of your home with the intention of clearing out objects that are unsupportive of your well-being.

Soften your gaze and move your eyes around the room. Does your attention land on or keep coming back to a certain object? If so, ask yourself where the object came from. Think about who might have been present when you purchased it, or who might have given it to you. Think about what was going on in your life when you acquired the object.

As you start to develop an idea of what sort of energy the object might be holding, based on the answers to your questions, notice how you feel when you come near the object. Do you feel love, joy or peace? Do you feel a sense of anxiety, sadness, grief or anger, or have an aversion to the object? If an object doesn’t spark a feeling of love and good vibes when you interact with it, it’s time to unload it.

Give with integrity

This same concept goes with gift-giving. Think about why you give each gift you give. If the idea of giving a gift fills you with love, gratitude and joy, give the gift. If you feel resentment, obligation, stress, anger or any other unsavoury emotions when thinking about giving the gift, realize that you are giving the other person these energies with your gift, too.

If the latter is the case, centre your energy and assess your intentions. Maybe you need to shop for the gift when you are in a more balanced emotional state, or maybe the person isn’t someone you want to give a gift to after all.

Gift-giving with integrity is a mindful process. The more we practice it, the more authenticity we bring into our relationships. We also begin to see the objects that we surround ourselves with as supportive or degenerative in nature, and can then make conscious choices about the gifts we give and receive based on the energies they bring into our lives.

The more we practice this mindfulness, we also begin to assess how we value the objects we own. Sometimes the things that look the best, cost the most or are the most useful to us can emit very toxic energies if we received those items from someone who was not integral in their giving. Those energies do affect us when we surround ourselves with them in any capacity. Regardless of whether the rage socks cost $5 or $500, I personally wouldn’t let them anywhere near my feet or my sock drawer. That wouldn’t be kind to my other socks.

They say it is the thought that counts when it comes to giving. Not only does it count, but the intention and the spirit in which a gift is given is, in many ways, the gift itself. Give with integrity.

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