Gifts are beautiful, and we surely all love to receive them.
After all, the tradition of gift-giving has existed for a long time. Almost everyone from all parts of the world exchange things during the holidays.
However, there is one gift that we often neglect and which has nothing to do with material things: the gift of giving a part of ourselves.
Each person has a different perspective of what it means to give a part of themselves for others. Opinions differ, but one thing is certain—we all need someone to show up for us every once in a while.
Showing up for other people, however, can be challenging. It takes effort, energy, awareness, empathy, selflessness, and commitment. That said, we’re not always up for it. We end up neglecting people who deserve more of our attention because we’re either busy, tired, self-absorbed, or afraid of vulnerability.
I understand—been there, done that. The times I was tired or self-absorbed are innumerable. I lost count of how many times I wasn’t present for the people who showed up for me. On the other side of the spectrum, I also know that learning to show up takes time and practice and a whole lot of awareness.
I’ve learned, I’ve practiced. I’ve realized that showing up for the people I love is the ultimate gift I’ve given them. Regardless of the barriers that block our way, we can always shatter them and walk toward others.
Looking inward is the first essential step to learn how to show up for our loved ones. We need to recognize the traumas and the fears that lie within so we can discern what’s stopping us from giving.
Dig from the inside out and identify the people you want to show up for. Who is worthy of your love? Who has given you a part of themselves and deserves more of you?
Distinguish these people and show up for them more often. Whether they’re a family member, a friend, a coworker, or a lover, know that there is no greater gift than the gift of presence. We don’t need to do much. Oftentimes, a few simple gestures can mean a whole lot.
Here are a few steps to get us going:
1. Showing support.
Show interest in what’s going on in your loved one’s life. Ask them what they’ve been up to, what they’ve done today, or if something is troubling them. Sit with them, talk to them, and offer a helping hand if they need it.
Showing up for the people we love means doing something for them even if it’s uncomfortable for us. We can’t possibly expect people to give to us unconditionally if we’re not willing to give them something back. Compromising improves relationships and brings people closer to each other.
3. Be present.
Presence is a virtue, and nowadays it’s being lost with all the technology and smart devices. We can show up for our loved ones through being fully present with them. Let’s put down our phones when they talk to us and give them our undivided attention. Communication is a wonderful gift, and having it in reality is more enjoyable than having it on a screen.
There are people who give to us abundantly yet we fail to appreciate them. Recognize these people and say “thank you” more often. Let them know that you value everything they do for you and give them something back in return.
We all want to be loved, but foremost, we all crave being understood. When we understand how people operate and what makes them tick, we hold the key to their souls. We know what makes them happy and help them out when they’re gloomy.
6. Let them feel.
Showing up for the people we love in good times is easy. What’s challenging, though, is to show up for them during the bad times. The most loving gift we can give them is tolerance and sympathy. Let them grieve, be sad, or be worried. Helping our loved ones release their troubling emotions helps them to get through them.
7. Love them.
Love has various definitions, and we all have different opinions on what it means. Nonetheless, we all agree that love is translated through actions. If we want to show up more often for our loved ones, we are required to interpret our emotions into actions.
Cook a surprise dinner for your partner. Invite your coworker for lunch. Have an open, loving conversation with a family member with whom you have troubles. Reconnect with a friend.
Remember that human connections are vital for our mental and emotional health. We can never achieve true happiness with broken relationships.