12/26/2013 10:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

12 Days of Winter Meditations: Day 5

Gifts: Appreciation

Have you ever had that holiday moment where the presents are all opened and you have a vague sense of disappointment? Bound to happen! There is so much pressure to give others what they really want, to find the perfect present--and then when we don't get what we really want, we can feel empty. One of the operating principles of the universe, I believe, is the idea that if there is something we really want, we should try giving it to others first. And if there is something we truly need, we should give it to ourselves.

Let's take the idea of appreciation. We all want to feel truly appreciated. If we don't feel appreciated, first reach out to someone else and show your appreciation to him or her. But then, we also have to learn how to appreciate ourselves. And if that means buying yourself the gift you really wanted, that's OK. But more likely, it's about finding one of the gifts inside of you that only you can unwrap, and then sharing that gift with others.

What are the gifts inside of you that you can share?

For more from Maria Rodale, visit