Have you missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Are you counting the shopping days and wondering when you will have time to brave the elements and worse still the queues? Still searching online and wondering if the latest gadget really is the way to go for your loved one? Are you concerned that the material value of your gift will be dwarfed by that of your partner, friend or colleague? Is it the right size, colour, style, designer brand, fit? You get the picture. Christmas shopping can be exhausting, costly and time-consuming.
However, there is the one perfect Christmas gift that is almost stress-free, non-returnable, whose effects carry a lifetime guarantee and will always be accepted with gratitude, love, warmth and humility. Equally, in the giving of it, you will be left with the glow of satisfaction that no amount of money can buy.
It is the gift of compassion.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines compassion as: ‘sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it’.
I don’t know about you but the thing that immediately springs to mind and still tugs at my heartstrings is the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” written in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure after they saw TV reports of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. The rest as you know is history.
There are thousands of examples of mega wealthy world leaders from various spheres showing compassion – acting upon the suffering of others.
‘’In separateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength’’. Buddha
Perhaps the magic of Christmas lies in the ordinary individual – that’s you and me – looking around them with a new lens and striving to their use their strengths, skill, network and insight to find opportunities to wrap up little packages of compassion and distribute them to both their loved ones and others around them? And yes, like you I cannot afford a Zuckerbergian £30 billion, but then compassion is never measured in pounds and pence is it?
What form your compassion will take, makes it a personalised, well-thought out gift that will leave the recipient thinking on it for years to come. Perhaps a friend who is suffering from depression, who needs your help in facing the world again; babysitting for an abandoned, single mother who desperately needs an afternoon to herself; a couple in your community that you can counsel as they are going through a divorce; a group of children that you could bake with and read stories to; supporting a tourist county in crisis from flooding; a colleague who lost their job and is in need of help practising their interview skills; helping to feed the hungry and homeless; delivering a motivational talk to young people that live in deprivation or pledging your support in another continent to stop elephant poaching in the name of a friend.
May your festive season be blessed. And may you receive the gift of compassion in the form you most need it.
Sudhana Singh is an Executive Coach based in London. Follow her on Twitter @ SudhanaSingh