It can be a complicated time of the year, or it can be the greatest time of joy, peace, family, and faith. I have had different conversations with different people about what this time means for them and what they believe, and it is amazing the diversity of people, their beliefs, and ways they celebrate, if at all. No matter what you believe, how you celebrate, and whether you give gifts, I want to make one suggestion. Whether you give gifts to other people or not, I want to encourage you to give yourself the gift of you.

Let’s talk about gifts for a moment. Would it be fair to say, for the most part, we give gifts to the people we care about, gifts we believe will add some value and/or joy to their life? Of course, sometimes the gifts we give are just tokens and more out of obligation than real desire to give a great gift. We have all re-gifted, haven’t we? We pass on that thoughtless gift someone gave us and recycle it as a thoughtless gift we give to someone else. If you have never done this, I apologise, and I have to say, you are a wonderful exception.

In this blog, I am referring to those gifts we give and receive that bring incredible joy and value into our lives. The greatest gift I ever gave was a plush pelican toy I presented to my mother just a few days before she passed away. I knew how much she loved pelicans, and so I knew she would love this gift. Surprisingly, it was no easy feat to find a stuffed toy pelican. I drove all over Melbourne, to every department store and toy store I could find for many hours, before I finally found one at the Melbourne Zoo, in their gift shop. When I gave it to her and told her all about the adventure I had been on to find it, the tears in her eyes, the smile on her beautiful face, and the love in her heart was all I needed to know how important that gift was to her.

The greatest gift I have ever received is the one I gave myself. No, it wasn’t my car, and it wasn’t my home. It was me. I gave myself the gift of me. I am sure you are asking, what does that mean? For much of my life, if I had to describe myself as a gift, I would be the thoughtless gift that gets re-gifted. I never valued myself, nor did I feel I was good enough or worthy enough to be loved because of who I was. I always felt I had to be working, productive, achieving, accomplishing, and accumulating to be worthy. In other words, the me I was did not fit the bill as the gift I wanted, so I was always trying to change, improve, and hide the real me. I was trying to re-package and re-gift!

You may be relating to what I am saying right now and also believing that you don’t feel good enough or worthy enough to be successful, happy, and loved. I have to be brutally honest here and, if this is you or anyone you care about, I need you to hear this next part loud and clear. You can never hate yourself into a better person or to a better life. You will never be able to outwork, outachieve, or outlast low self-worth. No matter what you try to do, your inner belief about yourself will come back and rip you down. How do I know this? I have been there too many times, until I finally gave myself the most important gift I could ever give, the gift of me.

I went through a painful but necessary process to understand who I was at the core, why I believed the way I believed, and why I acted the way I did. It was a transformational journey to discover that I am okay, just as I am, and that I am a beautifully flawed human being. Through that understanding came self-acceptance, then self-forgiveness, and soon after, I gave myself the gift of me. By clearing the noise and lies in my head, the conditioning that had ruled my life, and the stereotypes I was hanging on to, I started to recognise the beautiful person I was, and am. I went from hating myself, to accepting myself, to forgiving myself and I can honestly say, right now, I am in love with myself. Not in a boastful and insecure way, but through a deep feeling of self-worth.

This is the greatest gift I have ever received, and I gave it to myself, which means you can give exactly the same gift to yourself. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or something else at this time of the year, or if you don’t celebrate anything, you can still give yourself this gift. The only reason you need is that you are deserving of living the best life possible. Wow, that is definitely worthy of celebration, and not just once per year, but every single day.

As you give yourself this wonderful gift, you will start desiring to do more for yourself and with yourself. In my amazing podcast this week with Kathy White, called Pants on at 100, we discuss giving yourself the gift of time and space to do yoga, to help you live better, longer and be able to put your own pants on at 100 years of age.

You may not believe it right now, but your existence is evidence of your worthiness. You were created in God’s image. You are here for a purpose. You are perfect, just the way you are. When you can understand this and believe it, then you will be able to give yourself the most precious gift of all, the gift of you.