At this time of year many of you give gifts. The definition of a gift is: "something given willingly to another person without payment." True giving is without expectation of a return. We give for the joy of giving. As you spend time searching online or in the malls for your gifts to give, I ask you to look within yourself for gifts to give that are infinitely more valuable. These gifts cost no money, yet the effects of these gifts is profound. Your gifts will benefit your receivers, and will ultimately benefit you more.

Your first gift is to give the benefit of the doubt. Whenever you begin to think someone is wrong or that they meant to hurt you, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don't assume the worst about anyone. Get the facts. If the facts show there was a negative intention, get the reason. So often we assume the worst about the intentions of others, only to discover that we were wrong. Give the benefit of the doubt to everyone.

Your second gift is to see the best in others. If you focus on what is wrong with another person, your focus serves to reinforce their negative behaviors. Your opinion of someone is your vision for that person. When you find yourself offering criticism, stop. Are there any positive traits you can see? What strengths does this person have? Stop telling yourself the negative story about this person and start looking for positives.

Your third gift is to let go of grievances. This is a gift you give to yourself. Grievances weigh you down. Every blaming thought weakens you, disempowers you, and causes you suffering. We teach people how to treat us. Take responsibility for your relationships and the part you play in each one. Be so committed to your own peace of mind that you refuse to hold on to blaming and complaining thoughts. Use prayer, meditation, or contemplation to see the other person truly. Ask your Higher Self or Higher Power to help you see the other person as they truly are, and to see this situation as it truly is. Then stop thinking about it. This simple act has resolved many conflicts in my life.

Your fourth gift is to transmute irritations. To transmute is to change something in such a way that it is of higher quality. It is easy to become irritated with other people. Refuse to entertain irritable thoughts. Be aware of your own irritability and address it. Change your thoughts. Take a deep breath. Go for a walk and think higher quality thoughts. When I am driving and I feel irritated at other drivers, I acknowledge my irritation and let it go. I tell myself they are only trying to get somewhere, just like me. I remind myself that the world doesn't revolve around me.

The fifth gift is your love. Love is much more than a feeling. It is a way of seeing. It is seeing others in terms of their highest good. Sometimes love is gentle, and sometimes love is tough. It requires us to offer what is best for someone else. It means that whether I am offering a compliment, or expressing dissatisfaction, I keep in mind the other person's needs. Everyone needs to be valued and respected. Love is appreciation. Love is saying thank you. Offer as many appreciative thoughts and thank you's as you can. Love is kindness and concern. Let people know that you care.

More important than any purchased gifts are these gifts you have within you. Give generously. Give often. Your giving in this manner will change your life, and it may serve to change someone else's life, too.

Author's Bio: 

William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach and the author of three books. Check out the books at . Bill offers workshops and keynotes for organizations and at events. For information on talks and workshops presented in organizations, at events, and at churches, write Bill at .