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With 8 more shopping days left until Christmas, how many of us have already spent more money than we wanted or really needed to spend? Let’s pause for a moment, and instead of spending money let’s spend some time considering a couple of the best gifts we can give and receive this holiday season.

While it is a season of giving to others, it is important that we begin with ourselves. We must open our hearts and minds to receive the goodness that is available to us.

The remaining days left before Christmas would be well spent preparing ourselves for what we will soon be celebrating. The truth is we cannot give what we do not have.

If our intention is to help spread joy and good cheer this holiday season, we must first tap into it for ourselves. Receiving this gift for ourselves is at the core of loving, appreciating and giving to others.

This gift is always available to us. It is unconditional and something we can unwrap, everyday all year round. It is unlike anything else.

For example, when we first see or find something we desire whether it is a new job, our dream home or special person; we may begin by falling head over heels in love. Later we begin to see the flaws that weren’t so obvious at first. Sometimes the love fades and all we see are the flaws.

Unconditional love is different. It sees beyond the flaws. It is steadfast and constant.

The good news is that each and every one of us is unconditionally loved — flaws and all. This is true whether we believe it or not.

We are not loved because of what we do or for what we have, or for what we accomplish. We are loved because of who we are and who we are created to be. In fact, there is nothing that we can do to deserve this and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

It’s amazing, I know.

When we truly accept this and align ourselves with this way of thinking and being, we are practicing self-love. We are also loving and honoring the one who created us. It brings about a deep sense of joy.

The more we get to know this joy. The more we want to recognize and honor it.

This can ignite a turning point in our lives. We may go from pursuing accomplishments, jobs and career shifts for personal reasons to doing all things in order to shine light on this joy and give glory to it.

Loving and accepting ourselves unconditionally can be very difficult at times. It is easy to get down on ourselves when we feel like we have made poor decisions or when we are treated poorly by others.

In every moment we have the option of focusing on the negative, complaining about it, writing about it, talking about it and making it bigger. Or, we can choose to view the situation from a place of love and forgiveness.

We must open our eyes to see the good that is around us. Then, we can better reflect this goodness for others to see.

The more we align ourselves with the unconditional love and acceptance that is available to us, the more we can be a gift to others. This, in fact, is the best gift we can give to others. That is, our presence.

When we are present with others we really listen to them. We give them the attention they deserve. We look them in the eye and with or without words we somehow help them remember how special they are and how much they are loved.

We can be present for the people close to us who we know and love. We can also be present for the stranger that crosses our path.

My hope is that you have been reminded of how special you are. You were absolutely meant to read this today.

Eight days left. Make them count. Spend time and money wisely. In the end, you will see how much you have saved.

Merry Christmas!

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Lucy Wellmaker is a life coach and author of Inspired by the WOW Moments of Life. For more information and to see her upcoming events visit www.LucyWellmaker.com

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