(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


What do you think about when you give a gift to someone? Are you trying to please them? That would be pretty normal – you don’t usually try to irritate someone with a gift!

But what is the motivation behind your action? Is the focus on you or on them? When you give — simply give — you have no attachment to the outcome. In other words, you are paid in full by enjoying thinking about an appropriate gift, perhaps shopping for and buying it, and wrapping and sending it. When you are focused on giving you are free to think only about the recipient.

However, if your focus is on pleasing, you are looking for some feedback, some reward, for giving them the “right” gift. You have to know if “it worked”, if they’re pleased. That’s being attached to the outcome.

If you find yourself needing to know if they are pleased, you may want to reexamine why you are gifting them in the first place.

If you find the act of giving enjoyable in and of itself, you are free of needing the good opinions of others.


Copyright 1999 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.