The greatest gift you can give someone

August 15, 2023

The greatest gift you can give someone….

is to lift them up.

or to listen.

to care about them.

to give them grace.

From what friends are telling me and also from my own experience over the years, these things are in short supply today.

This is especially true when people can be mean to others hidden behind screen names and anonymity. But it can also happen with our known friends and loved ones.

I just read one of Carolyn Hax’s columns in the WaPo about a mother/daughters scenario in which it was obvious one of the daughters was just plain cruel. And another friend told me about a conversation in which a friend basically slammed her in a passive-aggressive lunch conversation. She made lame effort to disguise the slam but it was unmistakeable.

greatest-giftSadly, mean people are just a fact of life and my heart goes out to all who have been the target of mean people. Passive aggressive people. Or just plain aggression. Some of these targeted oeioke are some of the nicest people you’d ever want to know.

Here’s what I’d like to tell them:

Be done with those mean people.

If someone does not lift you up, does not have your best interests at heart, they do not need to be in your life. And yes, I know how hard it can be to release people we thought were our friends. But it must be done.

And guess what? It’s super-liberating.

2023 has been a big one for me. It’s one in which I wished well and released several people who clearly did not deserve my love and energy.

It freed up some of energy, but it also left space in my life for other fabulous friends.

Which is the joy of discernment, isn’t it?

A reminder of my shop, offering gently supportive tools for grief and healing, right here.



7 comments on “The greatest gift you can give someone
  1. These are times in which we all are finding out who we do and don’t want in our orbit. Also times in which whatever we can give is sorely needed.

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    I’ve released people in the past. Some stayed away and that’s fine. Some came back and we have a new understanding. As long as people are kind, it’s okay.

  3. Diane says:

    So very, very true, Carol. If someone does not lift you or at least support you, they are contributing to your anxiety and stress. And who needs more of that?
    I had a friend years ago–a good friend, I thought. But after a year or two of friendship, I came away from every visit feeling like I’d been hugging a cactus. I finally asked my Husby if it was right to feel so down after a visit with one’s supposedly ‘best friend’. He told me what you just said. “If someone is mean to you, let them go.”
    And I did. It was both the saddest and happiest day to date.
    I see her every now and again. During one of those brief visits, she told me she was meanest to those she felt most intimidated by. I’m intimidating?! Gasp. It was a pseudo-apology at best. But it’s something…

  4. Alana says:

    At some point in our lives, we learn that life is too short, and letting go can be one of the greatest gifts to ourselves. So can giving to others in need if one can afford it. I’ve been witness to the other end of it (i.e. living near a disaster zone but only marginally affected); it’s an eye opener.

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