By Jimmy Warden
This time of year is usually thought of as a time when there is a little bit of magic in the air. Perhaps it is the energy of children eagerly waiting for Santa’s arrival, maybe it’s the powdered snowfall over a quaint town, or the overall buzz of people out and about. It is also thought of as a season for giving. Giving to those you love and care about. In addition, it should also be a time of forgiving. Forgiving those who have wronged you and forgiving yourself for not treating yourself as well as you should have. After all, no one that has existed has been perfect. That’s why these acts of giving and forgiving are what truly create the best energy during the holiday season. They will allow us to enjoy the here and now.
A part of our human nature tells us that we need to give, give, give, especially to those that we love. These people are so near and dear to us that we would do anything for them. We give them our love, we give them our wisdom, and we give them gifts, all to show them their value. These acts of giving are all acts of love and appreciation for those people. These acts should be of genuine nature and not as an aim for reciprocity. Most people see right through that anyway. So give gifts just to give! Give love just to give! If you’re receiving love or receiving a gift, it is okay to say thank you, and not feel the need to give back equal means from a material standpoint, or even from a love standpoint. That event was just the other person showing their love for you. There’s no need to shame yourself for not getting someone a gift immediately upon receiving a gift or not immediately giving them love if you didn’t know they were planning on giving you a gift or giving you love.
This forgiving of ourselves will help us be able to receive more love from others because once we can take the “scoreboard” out the equation of life, we’ll be able to see love for what it actually is. We won’t feel like we need to do something back right away, we can just accept it. Take it in. When we receive love, it makes it hard to not want to give it back, or give it to others. We must take the “scoreboard” out, though. We cannot keep track of who does what to whom on a constant basis because that creates toxicity, specifically in the forms of anger and frustration, towards the people that are trying to show us that we matter. This would not be unconditional love and the only person that can allow us to matter is ourselves. This is why forgiving ourselves is a constant process. It is not just a “one and done” action. We do things every day that we wish we didn’t do and if we don’t forgive ourselves for them we will never be able to love ourselves. And loving ourselves is the key to being able give to and forgive others.
Once we love ourselves, we can truly love other people. The main reason is that we often get frustrated with other people when they are acting in a manner that we frustrate ourselves with. For example, if we get frustrated when people are late we probably get frustrated with ourselves when we are late. We see these flaws in other people because our awareness of our personal inadequacies is heightened, therefore when other people act those out, we see it like it’s in portrait mode on an iPhone. However, if we can start forgiving ourselves for what we don’t like about ourselves (especially all the little things that add up to create big ideas of ourselves), that practice will help us be able to forgive others when we see them engaging in the same activities. The best part about this practice is that seeing, accepting, and forgiving other people’s flaws actually allows us to love them for the individual that they are.
There is nothing more genuine than loving people for who they are. This allows us to appreciate everything that they are and everything that they aren’t. It is important to break free of our expectations that someone will be perfect, including ourselves. Once we can break free of this, we can start forgiving ourselves for all of our little inadequacies that we constantly fuss over in our heads, and really start to love ourselves, and then other people too. The “scoreboard” of life will be turned off, it will be people genuinely enjoying each other’s company in the here and now, and giving each other their unconditional love. Now that, sounds like a lovely holiday.