Soooo, it is that time again! Time to search for the ‘perfect’ gift. That special something that makes another person light up on the inside. Need Inspiration? Try this gift and give authentically from the heart!
More and more, I talk to people that are growing weary of the focus on stuff, the cost and the blur of the holidays. They reflect back feeling spent, overextended and without the connection that they were hoping for.
I know I feel the same way.
While always fun and nice to spend time celebrating the notions of peace, love, and joy, I feel a particular determination this year to keep it simple. My goals center around family and as I seek to stay connected to my teen, I am reminded of a simple yet effective way that I have shared in the past as a way to meet those goals (see original post here).
When we are with family, lots of stuff can surface. Childhood dynamics that we thought we had long left behind can rise again. We are spending time with people, some of whom we did not consciously choose to be with in this life and yet we want to connect or they ‘come with the package’. As parents, we see all kinds of behaviors creep up driven by excitement, overindulgence, changed routines and more together time. It can be so easy to get frustrated, triggered and pushed to our limits.
For many, internal feelings of loneliness and belonging can be strong.
What we so often do is get bogged down in all we don’t like, all that is wrong and all that we wished was different.
What if we looked at things differently and really started to appreciate everyday miracles? The stuff that happens day in and day out, going largely unnoticed.
You do things all the time that are feats of greatness and so do the people around you.
This year, whether getting out of bed, making a nutritious meal, reaching out to a friend, seeing your child show kindness to a sibling, being with your teen in conversation, staying in your jammies, cuddling with a pet or traveling long distances to show up for family, notice feats of greatness.
When we talk about greatness, we are often referring to activities or actions that make us stand up and take notice. Waiting for those to come in the form of extraordinary accomplishments or uncommon acts, can leave us feeling impatient, defeated and empty.
Instead, look for the everyday things that we so often take for granted. Think of how different life would be if the little things that you do for yourself or that others do, did NOT happen. Let this feed your sense of feeling grateful for all that IS happening.
This year, make gift giving about building relationship, lifting people up and minimizing frustrations. Give yourself tools to prevent getting sucked into family dramas, personal frustration or what is lacking.
With a small investment of you, plants seeds of personal successes, strengths, qualities, and connection all year long.
In its simplest form, the process is one of noticing greatness in others and/or yourself, documenting it, and then (if you are noticing another) sharing it. It is about feeding all the goodness that you and those around you have while taking power away from what is ‘wrong’.
Why water the weeds?
As an aside, I often appreciate being able to think and find the words I want rather than coming up with them in the moment. Also, as a time-crunched mom, this provides connection and recognition when I am able to reflect back on the day or have a moment to actually say what I feel or notice.
Other benefits are that it can reach those who are resistant to being recognized verbally or reject it outright. Some people need to hear it repeatedly to digest it fully. Even how we feel on different days can affect our ability or desire to welcome a shift in how we feel about ourselves.
First, let me introduce our family greatness jar.
While this idea started years ago, it has slipped to the back burner. However, one of the best things I have done this year was to revive our greatness jar. In fast, easy ways, I have been telling my children all the things I see them doing that I am so grateful for and what strength it shows. The truth of who they are. With my son in his teen years, I get less and less face time with him so these can be left for him to find. This is a stage of life with lots of uncertainty, new experiences and changes. He can do what he wants with them, but I know he sees them and is appreciating their sincerity.
Be as creative as you wish in finding a way to watch the numbers growing.
A full jar means a full portfolio of Inner Wealth®
Here are the details…..
Step 1 – Write Greatness Notes
The goal is to provide authentic recognition of actions and qualities to children and adults. The only criteria are that the note needs to be personal, specific and true.
- I created a template that I print off on coloured paper and I fit 6 squares onto one sheet. I then cut that into individual smaller cards. Let your creativity fly and create your own template for Greatness Notes. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of mine. Have favourite writing tools on hand to add to the enjoyment.
- Each card starts with “(name), I see your greatness”. There is then space to write what positive action we observed (saw, heard, felt etc.) as well as the quality they possess that led to what they did. My children even write these to each other on occasion which is greatness I sure notice!
- All Greatness Notes are put in the greatness jar.
- We initially read them out loud once a week at dinner, however, now I slip them a bit more subtly into the day. I will leave them on beds, chairs where they sit, stick them on mirrors etc. These are good options for people that prefer to read them privately. I have had people share that they have a weekly greatness party to celebrate. Others read them daily rather than weekly. As time goes on, adapt it to what works best for you.
After a few months of doing this, I heard, “These notes are so special! What do I do with them?” We decided to create a private space where we could revisit our greatness.
Greatness Notes + Greatness Boxes = the gift that gives again and again
Step 2 – Have a Greatness Box
- You could do this as an activity or a purchase. Depending on the people involved, you can buy a wooden box at the dollar store to paint, add jewels, sparkles, shells etc. You could also buy a finished box that appeals to you or the person you are buying it for.
- Once you have your Greatness Notes from the jar, you can add them to your box. Some may choose to keep them all. Others may choose to keep ones that really resonated or impacted them. Either way, this becomes a place to hold onto the recognitions either to help remember them in a challenging time or to digest them more deeply.
- Re-visit your Greatness Box when you wish. Creating a sacred space for authentic recognitions is like having a space within you that is never affected by external situations. The notes within your box are true and tangible. They can be used to help grow greatness, reset to more appropriate behaviors or to put a smile on your face.
- Add your own personal creativity to make this idea work in your family. Expand it to your relationship with yourself, significant other, friends etc. Greatness Boxes simply amplify the value of the notes by giving them a special place to dwell until they are needed or wanted again.
Being able to revisit these notes helps instil – “I did do that”. “I am that”. “It is within in me”.
This holiday season, enjoy noticing, sharing and returning to the greatness within you and your loved ones! Give a gift that is not just to make another feel good. Rather it is about ensuring they know they are good. Also, remember that what you focus on expands so seeing what is going well can overshadow the frustrations and challenging dynamics.
Gratitude is a powerful way to shift our thinking.
This can also be a wonderful classroom activity! I would be thrilled to have this come home filled with a collection of successes my child has seen in themselves and that others have seen in them.
Remember to do this for you too 🙂