A former boyfriend gave me the best wisdom around gift giving. It was his mother’s birthday and I wanted to make sure he got her something nice. She is a wildly generous human and takes kindness to a whole new level. He nonchalantly explained to me that he had it covered. After Christmas, he and his siblings always purchase all the same gifts that their mother gives them that year. Then throughout the next year … birthday, Mother’s Day, etc … they give her the same gifts she had given them. I think a robe was one example and fancy cooking knives was another. It made perfect sense. I tried it with my own mother the year the Pandora bracelet busted onto the scene. I hadn’t heard of them yet but got one from my mother. So, I gave her one for Mother’s Day and she was tickled pink. Holy Smokes, it worked!! Up until that point, I had felt like my mother was impossible to buy for, but that Pandora bracelet seemed to ease that a little.
What was happening? Was this some master-minding evil mom trick? Are all mother’s narcissists? Don’t answer that! It’s subliminal really. When I think about my own gift-giving, it’s rare that I’ve purchased a gift that I didn’t have at least some affinity towards.
What about outside of gifts? How about when you find yourself giving your child advice and you think … Mmmm, if I also didn’t gossip with my adult girlfriends like I’m telling her to not gossip on the playground … wouldn’t my life have less drama? Who is this advice really for right now?
I mean, seriously, how many times have you sat across from someone and heard them talking about what so and so ought to do and thought … Boy, aren’t you one to talk?
I have a friend, who, I adore but would leave an outing with him thinking … Am I uplifted or beat up? I was so confused. But then I realized … that advice, tip, encouragement, warning, etc. Most of it was not for me or about me. He was subconsciously talking to himself. And it made sense, he’s not insensitive, we just both started our businesses at the same time. When I voiced a fear or worry about entrepreneurship, I was triggering his fears and worries explaining why I was getting a weird mix of communications.
Where does this show up for you? Do you catch yourself when you give the perfect gift, that beautiful piece of advice, and an uplifting compliment to someone? Maybe you should, chances are, it’s for you too.