The holidays are here.
And while many people are focused on the gifts they hope to receive, the individuals spending more time and energy giving their presence and presents to others are going to be happier--I guarantee it.
When you spend excessive time thinking about what you want to receive it creates selfishness. Immaturity. And expectations that are setting yourself up for disappointment.
You're Scrooge. And your self-centered mentality is going to make you into the victim of the holidays.
No one loves you enough. You're not the favorite child. People aren't giving you the attention and recognition that you deserve. And the more you think about what you're missing the more things you fail to appreciate.
It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like Narcissus staring in the pond at his own reflection, you're so consumed with what's right in front of you that you're missing out on the beautiful life that surrounds you.
Walking through each day feeling connected to the self-dialogue that you think is yourself, you end up separated from others. Moving away from the shared space of relatedness and friendships with peers and family.
You become the star of your own movie. You're the main character and the director--but only when things are going well.
The moment things don't go according to plan, you're suddenly the victim of someone else's twisted drama. The world is against you, and you no longer feel in control. It's a terrible feeling.
And while you imagine that the victim and the star are opposites, you fail to realize their striking similarity: that in both cases, you are always the center of attention.
Approaching the holidays while maintaining this self-focus is missing the point entirely.
As various cultures celebrate the Light-In-Everybody, the true purpose of these holidays is to transcend your self-focus. To give. To express the love, admiration, and appreciation you feel towards others.
The more that you focus on giving, the more lightness illuminates your being. Awakens your heart. And integrates you further into the bliss of authenticity.
Giving gifts, at a fundamental level, is an exchange of energy. It's symbolically communicating to another person that you care. That--even though you don't always say it--you value the essence of someone else.
Despite all of your shortcomings and limitations, this holiday time period provides you with the opportunity to make things right. To clearly communicate your gratitude towards the people you love.
While we often get caught up in the material elements of gifts, it's important to remember that the mere act of giving provides a moment of self-transcendence.
This movement away from focusing on petty issues of daily life propels you towards something greater. It aligns the center of your being with a deeper and more meaningful collective movement. That's why they call it the Holiday Spirit.
By stepping outside of yourself and putting your energy towards giving, you are opening yourself up. You become a beautiful, blooming flower. And your radiance inspires those around you to do the same.
In the moment of pure giving--without focusing on yourself or your reactions or your gifts or your money or how you feel if someone doesn't like your gift--you are actively creating the positive change we all wish to see in the world. You are creating a self-less environment built on the foundation of mutual cooperation.
From the individual and social level to the archetypal, focusing on giving and connecting to this larger movement allows Narcissus to lift his head. To lose self-interest. And, in doing so, to create meaningful relationships with others.
Another example of this archetypal transformation is found in the popular Christmas story of Scrooge, who begins the story being selfish, greedy, and focused on his money. Scrooge's narrow focus on himself and his wellbeing keep him emotionally and energetically closed off from himself and others.
In this metaphor, you are Scrooge. And your selfishness is keeping you from experiencing real happiness.
After his awakening experience, though, Scrooge becomes transformed. His heart-impulse changes from thinking of himself to focusing on giving to others. And the more he gives, the greater joy he feels.
He surrenders. He opens his heart. He aligns himself with the spirit of giving, and is forever converted as a result.
The real happiness Scrooge experiences is not the same as the temporary pleasure that one experiences from new material items. It's not a fleeting emotion dependent upon receiving gifts. It is an authentic happiness because it is not dependent on any condition--it just is.
Scrooge feels happiness as the byproduct of that self-surrender. And you can too.
The story of Scrooge is a life lesson that we all need to experience. It summarizes our selfish disposition, the negative consequences associated with it, and the liberation possible through giving, sacrifice, and surrender.
It is my hope that you step outside of your comfort zone--the typical patterns of greed and self-interest--and step into a new way of being that creates the gifts that keep on giving: real happiness, love, gratitude, and appreciation.
Please enjoy your holidays and remember that giving, not receiving, will bring you real happiness.