12/15/2014 10:24 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

3 Times When Giving Is Not a Good Thing


At this festive time of year, most people are wracking their brains trying to figure out what presents to buy for each other. The acts of giving and receiving should be pretty easy for us to handle, though, right? So why does it get so frustrating and complicated? We give too little, too much, with strings attached. Giving should enhance our lives and bring us joy, not create more stress and consternation.

My belief is that giving and receiving joy, whatever form that takes, is one of the main reasons we are on this planet together. However, at times I think we lose sight of our good intentions.

So in order to avoid turning the act of giving into a negative experience for the giver, the receiver, or both, here is some food for thought when going shopping for everyone on your list this year...

1) Giving Too Much or Too Little

Any healthy relationship has an equal amount of give and take. So contrary to the saying, "It's better to give than to receive," you must actually be a giver and receiver both in order for abundance to flow, because giving and receiving stimulate one another. Consequently, an uneven exchange, an imbalance, stops the flow.

Some people are always giving, but not receiving. That type of scenario eventually builds up resentment. The giver then may begin giving too much and playing the martyr or victim role out of spite to make the other person feel guilty. In turn, those who give in order to get something back or give out of guilt are neither giving nor receiving. It becomes about who gives or gets more stuff -- stuff becoming the measure of one's self-worth -- not a healthy position to take.

2) Giving Without Value

When something is given without value, it is not worth giving or receiving. Whether a gift has value has to do with the intention behind it. You only truly give when the intention is love.

When we give, (and it doesn't matter if the gift costs money or not), we need to ask ourselves if we are giving out of obligation and/or sheer convenience. How much did you sincerely try? You may not realize it, but the energy of your intention, half-hearted and all, is carried along with your "gift" to the recipient. Don't you think they can feel that you didn't show care? It is important to always be thankful for what we are given, but do you think that sometimes gifts given without valuing the other person can actually hurt?

3) Giving What YOU Want

From an energetic point of view, when you give to others with love based on their needs and wishes, the universe mirrors that intention and brings you that which best aligns with your needs and wishes.

However, sometimes we get self-absorbed and assume everybody wants what we want... how could they not, right? Well, even though you may mean well, it's important to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. When a gift shows little or no consideration for the other person's personality or interests, but is clearly something that fits your own, then it just looks like it's all about you, not them. Be honest and say to yourself, "Would they enjoy this gift? It doesn't matter if I would enjoy receiving it or not; it isn't about me."

Everyone always says, "It's the thought that counts!" My question is, "What thoughts are we having?" Maybe we should focus on the children opening presents at holiday time and maybe, just maybe, the adults should have a giving nature and be of service to one another throughout the entire year? Perhaps simply sharing the comforts and spirit of the season with those we love, and at the same time, making an effort to experience, with all our senses, the magical decorations and beautiful music that is all around, is what it's really about...