IMAGINE… It’s early Christmas morning and the melatonin is still kicking full speed inside your teenage body. A far away voice is asking you to get up and join the rest of the family. As much as you want to open your gifts, you feel it is too early and choose to turn onto your stomach, grab your pillow, and cradle your head with it to drown the increasing noise. A sharp knock is heard at your bedroom door. Without ceremony or asking, a familiar face comes in and yanks the blanket covers off and tells you to move your behind downstairs where you apparently belong. Mulling silently over the ‘joys’ of Christmas, you grudgingly drag your feet downstairs and take place in the furthest corner known to mankind, the right edge of the living room sofa.
Michael Buble’s Christmas album is playing softly in the background. You chuckle at the idea of seeing your mother’s shocked face when you exchange her Buble’s rendition of ‘White Christmas’ for G-Eazy’s ‘Me, Myself & I’. It may not be a Christmas song, but it is representative enough of how you are feeling right now. “Oh, it’s just me, myself and I, solo ride until I die, cause I got me for life. Oh I don’t need a hand to hold, even when the night is cold, I got that fire in my soul.”
You look across the room and wonder when this display of human emotions will be over. You have sleep to catch up on, remember?
In the corner of your left still-blurry eye, you notice a different kind of gift under the lit-up tree. It does not have the same bows and whistles as the others. It is not wrapped in shiny perfect-looking wrapping paper either. No, it has been wrapped quickly in a daily newspaper, as if someone was afraid not to have enough time to go do more important things.
Puzzled, you pick it up. “Whose gift is it?’ you wonder. You quickly glance around to see if others notice what you are doing. They seem to be busy with themselves and are not paying much attention to you. You feel safer to explore. It does not occur to you to ask the others in the room where it comes from, who brought it, and what is it doing there. No, you are used to doing it alone now, even when the night is cold.
You leave the room quietly, the mysterious package tucked under your arm. You are determined to get to the bottom of this.
Back in your bedroom, a flash of anger crosses your eyes. You abruptly pull the dresser across the door; you have just remembered that familiar face who believes they can barge into your bedroom uninvited simply because they call themselves ‘family’. You notice the messed-up blankets on the ground and you get even more pissed off. How dare they pull the blankets off you? Disgusted, you throw the gift in the middle of the bed and ignore it a while more.
Ahhh, but we are all born curious, my friend, and you come around, wanting to know what is inside. It is human nature calling, really, pissed off or not.
You pick the gift up, you take your sweet time. The commotion downstairs about who is having scrambled eggs and bacon does not interest you in the least. Your focus is now on this thing.
You hold it between your hands, unopened. “This is stupid, this gift is stupid. Whoever wrapped it has got to be stupid too,” you think. About to toss it away again, you notice the newspaper wrapping used to be a front page. From the writings of others, you make out a story about a rich businessman who believed he was ‘not good enough’. You also read about the poor girl who dropped her dream of going to college because she believed ‘born in the ghetto, always in the ghetto.’ You catch a quarter ad that claims, ‘We can shine your shoes with the best spit in the world!’ You imagine big chunks of spit onto your shoes and you laugh heartily.
It is at this precise moment you notice a note in the left corner, “YOU ARE THE GIFT!”
Something starts stirring you, something deep, almost forgotten, and questions start bubbling up to the surface.
“I am the Gift?”
“What does this mean, I am the Gift?”
“What is it about me that makes me the Gift?”
Yeah, we know, you might feel a bit silly asking yourself these questions at first. You might actually find it much easier to snicker, “I’m a Gift? No, man, I’m trash, no way I’m a gift, not to the people around me anyway.”
Every time you think you are ‘trash’, do you know you are focusing on the wrapping instead of the gift itself?
Do you see how the newspaper wrapping – the stories other people make about you AND the ones you also run in your head about yourself- have zero connotation with the inside of the gift?
Why is it so? Because the gift inside each and every one of us – our intrinsic value – does not change no matter who holds the gift, what they say about it, what is ‘written’ on it, and whether it is liked or not.
The gift remains the gift, no matter what, whether you choose to open it or not.
So let me ask you,
“What is the cost to you for not opening your gift?”
“What is the cost to all the people around you if you decide ‘This is stupid, this gift is stupid. Whoever wrapped it has got to be stupid too’?
To assist you in discovering the gift of who you are, here are some suggestions:
- Become open – Become open to discover who you are. Ask yourself, “What do I really really want?” So many of us focus on what we do not want rather than what we really really want. Be one of these people who becomes crystal clear on what they want in life. For example, if you want to open the gift, just open it, start anywhere, and open it. It is this simple.
- Become vulnerable – Become vulnerable to get the wrapping removed. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” and go do it! For example, if you feel thirsty and need a glass a water, get off the couch and go give yourself a glass of water right away. If it is a hug, same thing. Happy people tend to answer to their own needs immediately.
- Become authentic – Become authentic so you align what you believe, think, say, and do. Question your beliefs, motivations, and intents. Ask yourself, “Is it true? It is always true?” Always is a pretty big word… For example, if you think you are ‘trash’, ask yourself, ‘It is true? Is it always true?’ I am pretty confident you will find some examples where you are acting pretty cool indeed.
- Become curious – Become curious! The fastest way to the contents of the gift is through curiosity. Ask yourself: “What am I feeling inside?” and honour this feeling by being vulnerable with yourself and others. Learn to find out where your feelings and emotions come from so you can respond instead of react. For example, you being crossed at the person who pulled your blankets off your bed has more to do with the lack of respect for your privacy (a behaviour) than the love you might feel for this person (another gift).
- Become compassionate – Having compassion is the ability to create a safe place so you and others can feel what needs to be felt so everyone can understand themselves a little more. To be compassionate is to let go of the want to be right and do what feels right in the heart.
As you sit on your bed and contemplate whether or not to open your gift, know that every non-opened gift is a gift that is received without much gratitude, a gift that is mostly taken for granted, a gift that has lost most of its meaning in translation.
If what G-Eazy says is true, “Oh, it’s just me, myself and I, solo ride until i die, cause I got me for life…”, then why not open the gift?
About the author: Anne Beaulieu is an international speaker, empowering coach, and thought leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence and the Founder of Walking Inside Resources Inc. As an accomplished author and community builder, Anne is a powerful catalyst for positive change and embodies successful life strategies that keep empowering men and women across the globe every day. She has become a transformative influencer on social media by sharing openly her personal struggles and daily insights in order to give voice, uplift, and inspire anyone who has ever felt responsible for everyone and everything in their life. In Anne’s own words: “I empower people to become the leader of their own life, the leader of their thoughts, feelings, and decisions.”
Anne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
LinkedIN: Anne Beaulieu
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