How Not To Be Disappointed This Christmas - A Practical Tip

Many years ago, when I was living in circumstances not quite like today, I invented something in the spur of the moment which is fascinating and has significantly improved my life. It actually started four months earlier, for my birthday in fact. I had wanted to buy something very esoteric for me - a personal development tape set about wealth and success; but it was massively expensive and although my husband didn't exactly beat me with sticks on a daily basis, there would have been NO WAY I would have been "given permission" to buy this with the meagre family funds. This sort of thing was held to be "stupid" and "pointless" and "a waste of money", and there wasn't anyone at all in my life at that time who would care enough or even try to understand me enough to actually go out and buy it for me. Please. Start the violins! And then bring in the cello section, for good measure! Ok, so I was feeble back then, had no self esteem, didn't know what I was doing because I hadn't received my personal development tapes yet :-) but I came up with the idea to sneak the money and then in order to have an excuse for having the tapes around the house, to say that a girlfriend had given it to me as a present. I went into action. I sold some things, skimmed some of the money off the shopping budget, ordered the set (without using the family checkbook but with postal orders instead!); sat on the doorstep for a week so I could intercept the postman; when it arrived, I hid it carefully and then got gift wrap, wrapped it, put a card to it and signed it with a greeting from the imaginary friend. Then I put it on the hall table because now, it could be seen and stand up to questioning. When my birthday came, I hadn't been so excited about it in YEARS. I raced down the stairs like a kid to get "my present", and even burst out into tears when I opened it (which was explained with an onslaught of PMT) and hugged it. It was the best present I'd had in YEARS. Then, Christmas turned up and even though I felt guilty as hell, I did it again with something I similarly desired. I've been doing this ever since. Now you may say that's not in the spirit of things, but 25 years later and with the hindsight of a professional career in counselling and psychology behind me that began with that gift I gave myself, I would say that what I did there was to CHANGE MY LIFE. There was no-one there to give me what I wanted, and finally, I stopped waiting for that mysterious knight in shining armour, or the glowing angel manifesting on my doorstep, or the mysterious rich uncle who I never knew about, or my husband to undergo some instant personality transformation so he would finally "get me", and instead, I took my life into my own hands. *I* gave *me* what I need and wanted. And the result was that I *actually GOT WHAT I NEEDED*. That's an amazing lesson, in many ways and on many different levels. Women are STILL deeply entrained to be the providers and to take nothing for themselves; the "culture of everything for others and nothing for you" is even more global than that and extends to EVERYONE. There are many things about the bold move of DELIBERATELY choosing and wrapping a present complete with a card TO YOUR SELF which are remarkable. ALL the religions say that you should give service - there is no logical reason to EXCLUDE one single person from the service, of all the many people on this planet. 8 billion minus - one? And that one is ... YOU? That makes no sense, but that's the way we have come to understand it. In psychology terms, to exclude the self from the service and devotion extended to others is actually pathological and a sign there's something wrong with you! One could argue, and I would indeed argue this, that if you give gifts to other people but NOT TO YOURSELF, you are sending the wrong message, big time. And practically speaking, this shouldn't be anything special. It should NOT be like the first time I did that - full of guilt or shame or so significant or revolutionary as a concept. You should just simply be on your own shopping list at Christmas, just the same as everyone else you are buying presents for! Everyone should buy themselves a gift at Christmas! And on their birthdays, and on whatever holiday or celebration their culture prescribes. They should take the opportunity to express thus practically their support and gratitude for all that was done, for WHO THEY ARE, with a small gift and a card which carries the words so they may be read, and understood. That is in essence, a blessing. To perform this ceremony on behalf of one's self is not only fair, and more than that, it is a HUGE metaphor of integration and integrity. It is a fantastic opportunity to sit back and assess, very practically, where you're at, what might make you happy, and to enter in a communication with the "forgotten self" that brings this one back into the fold of the 8 billion. This is not a selfish act at all, but instead, a golden opportunity to ensure that on many levels, this one person gets what they want; that this one person is as happy as circumstances will allow; and you know, beyond all material goods, it really is the thought that counts.