Do you notice that when you give out gifts you receive more? Not necessarily in terms of receiving more gifts in return but the warm tingling sensation of happiness that wraps around your heart when the receivers of the gifts beam their several-thousand-watt smile at you. You know that your gifts are appreciated and they are happy.
That is the joy of giving which is one of the reasons I enjoy Christmas. That is the time when I would be busy thinking of the things to buy or make to give to family, relatives and friends. What joy! And I am thankful that I have all these to give.
It is sad that most people now think Christmas as being too commercialized but does it really matter? What matters is how you perceive it and what you are going to make out of it no matter what others say or do. If you put enough effort to it, you will know to find the right gift for each person and you receive twice as much in happiness for the effort.
Sure there will always be people who exchange gifts (1) because it is expected of them, (2) all in the name of fun and so, as long as the gifts are purchased and given, who cares if the recipient likes it or not. Still as a recipient of the gifts, even they are not quite what you like, appreciate the thought that the giver has you in mind and has spent money on you.
Showing genuine appreciation is an art. The better you are able to appreciate the better it is for you. Remember we should improve our happiness set point and feeling and showing appreciate is one of the means to improve it. When you consciously appreciate the efforts of another, you are forming positive emotions which automatically makes you feel better of yourself and the giver. Try it and consciously notice how you feel, both as a giver and receiver of gifts. The gifts may not be in a form of presents but they could be a smile, a service, close trusting friendships and so forth.
Now then why should we wait for occasions – Valentines Day, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, etc. – to feel appreciation? Sometimes I think these days are specially created to remind people to be appreciative because leaving it up to us, we are very likely not do it. Sad, huh?
Happiness and positive emotions can be generated at any occasion of your choice. Make it an everyday occurrence. Observe the number of times you actually show appreciation for the service and help extended to you in a day. When you start doing this you may realise there are very few if at all because we have taken a lot of things for granted. It would be hard to rack up anything until you are in the swing of things. Practice makes perfect – so start now to note down the opportunities that you have showed or missed showing any appreciation a day. Overtime, with constant practice and conscious self-observation, the appreciation list will grow.
Once the practice is internalized and naturally becomes part of you, you will find that there are just too many to list them all. Continue nonetheless as the more you do, the happier you feel. People around will also appreciate you more because your happiness attracts them. It comes in a full circle. What you do influence others. Won’t you want others to be just as happy as you?