Have you ever received a gift that was obviously not intended for you? The classic “re-gift”. Many have probably been guilty of re-gifting something at one point in time. We receive a gift of value that is not to our taste or liking and we find another somewhat suitable recipient for the item. Unfortunately, there is little awareness or regard for the recipient’s needs/desires or for their feelings. A re-gift is often a careless fulfillment of a perceived obligation. The outcome can be both embarrassing and hurtful to both giver and receiver.Interestingly, the same principle of re-gifting can also be true in relationships. We have probably all been guilty of entering a relationship for reasons other than true love. Perhaps we do not want to be lonely. Perhaps we want to “get over” a different relationship. Or maybe we are selfish and want to reap the benefits of being with another in some other way (financial or other support). Or perhaps we simply do not want to admit that it may be ourselves that need improvement. Being our best self takes work. It’s challenging and takes real effort. So rather than take the time for introspection and self-knowledge or improvement, we simply “re-gift” ourselves to the next relationship, and then wonder why that relationship also falls short of our hopes and expectations.
When we exit a relationship, it’s always a good idea to take some time to evaluate what was learned from the experience. Not only about the other in the relationship, but also ourselves as well as the dynamics shared between both parties. It can be all too easy to blame the other person involved for not meeting our needs, yet did you really consider if you were ready to give yourself to another? Did you possess and bring the qualities that fulfill a shared relationship? Were you a good fit together? Were you ready to give yourself fully without expectation?
As humans we are enriched by relationships. We rejoice in the process of sharing ourselves and getting to know and learn from another through that experience. There is a sense of connectedness and understanding that can be experienced in relationships that cannot be experienced alone. But to truly experience an enriching relationship, we need to be ready. We need to bring our best selves to our relationships as much as possible.
We all have some traits or bad habits that we need to change. We all struggle with different things at different times in our lives. Sometimes we are blind to our struggles and only become aware that something is amiss when a relationship falters or falls apart. But if we become cognizant of these areas now, we can improve, and in so doing, bring a healthier, happier gift of self to our relationships.
Every relationship provides opportunities for growth and introspection. Be sure you avoid the “re-gifting” trap, and begin to evaluate your current and past relationships and see if you are giving your best self. When you do you will have better, richer, fuller relationships in your future.
We would love to hear your stories about your relationships and how either you or another has experienced a re-gift in your relationships.