Holidays are a time of gift giving. And giving gifts is great!!! But if were not careful, it's easy to give gifts from our ego not our heart.
Yo, Erika! How can I tell if I'm giving from my ego?
Glad you asked, curious person I just invented! Here are a couple indicators:
1. It’s Transactional
I give you a gift with the expectation I'll get one back. That's not a gift. If you're explicitly doing a "gift exchange", that's another story. But if you're giving a gift, remember a gift is free.
2. Its Competitive
Your gift giving is more about getting a reaction or praise than about giving a present. It's more about being the best or giving the best. It's more about you than the recipient. Sure, it feels good to get recognition, but if that's why you're giving, check yourself because 1. its manipulative since you're trying to control someone's emotions and behavior 2. Its passive aggressive (if you win by giving the best gift and one-upping someone else, you are putting someone else in a losing position) and 3. its emotional Russian roulette because it sets you up to be hurt and resentful if you don’t get enough pride or recognition.
3. It Feels Hollow
If you are giving from your ego, you often feel empty afterwards. Sure, there was a quick feel-good moment, but its fleeting. Your ego is a hungry ghost that can never be satisfied. It is when we give selflessly, without expectation, from the heart that we have a more sustained sense of fulfillment.
As a bonus gift to you, dear reader, may I offer a generalization of this holiday concept: check yourself in your everyday relationships. Many of us give time, resources, and love from our ego not our heart. While the gifts may look different than wrapped ones at holiday time, the indicators of ego driven gift giving remain the same. If you're feeling brave, be radically honest and curious about this. Don’t judge it, but instead notice it and see what you can do to shift to heart centered giving the whole year!