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How to overcome your anxiety and buy the perfect gift

Buying a present for someone very special can be extremely anxiety-provoking. Somehow our self-esteem gets wrapped into the desire to find the perfect gift and in the end it might even become impossible to buy anything at all.

If the task weren’t inherently hard enough, any image one may have of oneself as a thoughtful, generous gift-giver can quickly be lost in the hassle of fighting crowds and indifferent shop assistants, and the sinking feeling induced by high prices, piped music and low quality products.

A bit of time spent thinking before heading for the stores can, however, help you feel better about yourself and result in a more successful mission.

The reminders that follow are designed to help you buy that special gift for that special person or persons. When making that heart-in-mouth purchase, remember these twelve points of giving . . .

1) It’s not for you. Whether it’s something you’d like to own yourself or something you’d like the receiver to own (yes lads, I am talking about purple satin basques here) it may not be what the recipient wants.

2) It’s an expression of feeling, not an invitation to be admired. Don’t buy the most expensive, the biggest, or the most fashionably labeled simply as a way to advertise your generosity, your wealth, or your ability to read ‘Vogue’.

3) It’s a symbolic form of a speakable statement, so before going out to the shops, write down the statement(s) you’re going to symbolize. For example, “I value you for your kindness and tolerance of my occasional bad humor and I love your intelligence and wit.”

4) We give gifts for ourselves. Just like saying ‘I love you’, giving a gift is something we do for ourselves, to enable us to make an important statement which we want the other person to hear.

5) It’s not a quick process. It can take several hours of looking and assessing in the light of your statement before something shouts “BUY ME!” at you. That’s why it’s important to restrict the best gift buying to the most important people.

6) Be ready to be surprised by your choice. Sometimes, when an object does shout at you it may not be at all what you expected. Don’t just put it aside as an aberration but sit with the idea a moment, considering it in the style of Reminder 12.

7) Be ready for something other than glee from the recipient, especially if others are present. This may be because the recipient wasn’t expecting this thing and hasn’t yet decided what it says to them. Or it may be because they’re knocked out by your perception and don’t want to hurt the feelings of the aunt standing next to them. (Poor aunty just received a rather cool reception for coming up with a knitted tea cosy for the third year running).

8) Don’t be afraid to spend money. The best gift will often be a bit more than you were planning to spend. Spend it anyway.

9) Give it and let it go. If you have done the very best you can to match your gift to the recipient, you’ll be able to congratulate yourself every time you think of it. In this way it won’t matter too much even if the recipient isn’t able to respond warmly.

10) Risk trying to make it look good. Too many of us are embarrassed by giving gifts, doubting our ability to read our recipient’s mind and seeing our own perceived worthlessness embedded in the wrapping. That means we bundle it up a bit crudely in something not very special and thrust it into their hands almost as if it were a hot coal we couldn’t wait to be rid of. Honor your own deeply-felt warmth by making more of a presentation.

11) Don’t expect reciprocity. There are, of course, duty gifts where one either expects something in return or recognizes it as a payoff for something else. If you are acting from a place of authenticity, however, and giving with your heart, rather than your head or your pocketbook, you will find it’s quite OK to walk away with your own gift sack empty.

12) Make contact with your truest felt sense of the recipient. This is the ultimate decision point, when you’re on the verge of laying out that hard-earned cash. Hold the object in your hand, or look at it in the store, and close your eyes.

Imagine yourself with the recipient, not talking, but sharing the same energy space.

Does this object resonate warmly within that energy field? Does it add an extra dimension to the relationship? If not, walk away. The right gift is waiting for you in the next store.

Good giving!

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