A pattern I’ve noticed over the past year, in each of our monthly areas of focus, is that perfectionism is my evil nemesis. I may have the purest intent – to spend quality time with my family, to try new things, to show gratitude, but I’m sunk when I start expecting unrealistic perfection from myself or others. I’m finding that it’s true in the realm of gift giving too.
I want to give… the perfect gifts – everything that people need and want. I’d send my husband on a trip around the world, and treat the rest of my family to the ultimate Hawaiian vacation (unless they live in Hawaii, then I might send them to Italy). A certain someone I know would get all the books her heart desired, and a year-long sabbatical to devote to writing. I’d buy laptops, iPads, Promethean boards, and crazy huge classroom libraries for every preschool and kindergarten teacher in Denver. I’d fund Reggio-inspired, Montessori, and expeditionary learning schools, all over the world!
I turn Oprah-esque in my mind, so that when I come back to earth, I feel like I don’t have enough to give. I’ve gone to such an extreme philanthropic fantasy, that my actual gifts and donations seem insignificant, never enough. My logical mind knows that it’s the thought that counts, that I shouldn’t get stuck in a never enough mentality, but logic doesn’t always come naturally to me. And it gets worse: sometimes when I don’t think I can give the perfect gift, I end up not giving anything at all.
I know it’s ridiculous, so I’d like to let go of it. And it’s funny – when I’m ready to let go of something, support and inspiration seem to appear at every turn.
I read this blog post by a woman who practices random acts of kindness on her birthday each year. She shares lots of great ideas for giving, that don’t cost a lot of money.
And this quote popped up in my inbox today:
Our highest power is love, and it is one thing each of us has an unlimited amount of. How much love do you give to others in one day? Each day we have an opportunity to set out with this great, unlimited power in our possession, and pour it over every person and circumstance.
Love is appreciating, complimenting, feeling gratitude, and speaking good words to others. We have so much love to give, and the more that we give, the more we receive.