Can we laugh about it?
Special occasions can be a stressful time in our relationships. Giving gifts are a burden when our love for each other is measured by our offerings.
Is it realistic to think that we can give from the heart and not be judged? Can we refrain from judging others when their gift is the wrong size, the wrong color, or the wrong style? Are we supposed to be saintly and refrain from commenting, returning, or re-gifting what we don't like? Or perhaps we are supposed to learn to like what we get because after all, it is the thought that counts.
Perhaps there is another way. We can take the gift giving out of the relationship equation. Whether we exchange gifts or not, the idea is to celebrate and have fun. First, we could make sure the people in our life feel welcome there. How can you tell? Can you laugh with them? When was the last time you laughed together? That’s the real test. Perhaps we can find a reason to laugh on this occasion.
The company we keep determines the quality of our experience. In good company we feel free, comfortable, and enjoy ourselves no matter what the activity. In bad company we can be miserable. Did you hear the story about the guy who almost died of hunger while attending a great feast? The problem was that every time he attempted to eat something, his companion deterred him from doing so by insinuating that he might get poisoned by his choice of food.
Bad companions promote deprivation. They discourage, warn, correct, and even advise us without our asking. In good company we feel energized, free to be ourselves and laugh. Such joyful moments are what keep our friends in our minds and hearts. In bad company there is seldom the freedom to laugh. Laughter requires a sense of equality and freedom of expression that are essential for any healthy relationship. Laughter is a sign of joy as much as affection is a sign of love. No loving relationship can survive long without the freedom of expression which can often be gauged by the presence of laughter.
Consider giving and receiving the freedom to laugh on your next special occasion. Life becomes full of joy when we are free to laugh about it!