“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894, Novelist and Poet)
We are literally, and physically surrounded by gifts, but often do not see what is inside each of them, nor what is deep inside of our SELF. Each of us, having been given a ‘life assignment’, is in constant motion—discovering how exactly to unwrap that which we have been given. Learning to see inside the package, the ‘gift’ of a friend is illuminated right before our very eyes. Do you truly see your ‘gifts’? Do you see the ‘gifts’ inside those who surround you? One of the best ways to appreciate our ‘gifts’ and the ‘gift’ of a friend is to go on a ‘gift exchange’; sharing what you see in a friend, and asking them to share what they see inside of you, is a powerful way to enjoy the present (another word for ‘gift’) and dig up some of the precious jewels that always reside inside the proverbial ‘gift’ package…
In life, we cannot give away that which we do not own. In order to experience a true friendship, it is required that we first learn to be a true friend to ourselves. Thus, we can neither give the gift of friendship, nor receive it, unless we have an authentic relationship with ourselves. What kind of friend are you to your SELF? Are you thoughtful, caring, considerate, and loving? Do you give to the relationship, nurture it, strengthen it, and respect it? Do you speak well of yourself, fuel yourself with healthy food, recharge yourself through recreation and rest? Do you celebrate YOU when you accomplish an important goal? Are you the kind of person that YOU would want to spend a lot of time with? Do you trust your SELF to give your best each day? Do you know your SELF well enough that it naturally makes it easy for someone else to get to know you?
Keep in mind the gifts you possess within yourself—those that have naturally blossomed by way of personal relationships or career paths, and those you have yet to discover. It is important to recognize your gifts and to know that, through this recognition, you have the ability to positively impact not only your own life, but also that of your friends, co-workers, and family. Once you give yourself the gift of knowing and loving yourself, the potential of new friendships, as well as the strengthening of those already-formed relationships, is endless and boundless.
James K. McPartland, also known as ‘Mac’, is the owner and Chief Inspiration Officer of the JMac Performance Group, a specialized management and consulting firm focused on realizing the importance of the human potential in business. He is an entrepreneur, author of Unopened Gifts: A Journey To Gratitude, international speaker, TV/radio host, and noted authority on leadership, team building, corporate wellness, and transformational change.