Gift Guilt

Gift Guilt- Why do some people dislike gifts?

You might have heard about people stressing over planning parties, hosting dinners, and giving gifts around the holiday season or a special occasion. Forget people for that matter, you definitely might have found yourself in a similar situation. But turns out that’s not the only nature of the guilt that is associated with the entire social business of gifting. A lot of people stress over being on the receiving end of the situation. It may sound weird and pretty unfamiliar but people do grapple with a feeling of guilt that creeps in on receiving a gift as opposed to the “appropriate” feelings of elation.
But why is it so?
There are a few explanations for that. Some may feel that they don’t deserve a gift or people going out of their way to make them feel special. A lot of this may come from deep-rooted issues of self-worth and low self-esteem. A lot of people who as children have not received enough attention or love or care find themselves struggling to firstly accept in the first place that someone cares for them or values them enough to get them a present.
For some, the idea of getting a gift triggers feelings of inadequacy in terms of social and financial standing. Think about a situation where you might have received a gift from a friend that is way more extravagant than what you gifted that person. Psychologists say that as part of human nature, we have this tendency to reciprocate in value. We like to give back in accordance with what we get and this entire gifting bargain can actually set off thoughts of questioning our social status.
And finally for some people receiving gifts just creates a sense of obligation that they feel forced to conform to.
But whatever the case, there are steps that you can take to deal with any of the feelings that you might be experiencing.
Intent over value- Focus on the intention behind receiving a gift than its material value so to speak. Allow yourself to think about the love, appreciation, and gratitude that the person is wanting to express toward you by giving you a present. Look at it from a place of love and not from a lens of materialism.
Think from the opposite perspective- Understand that a lot of people feel happy when they give a gift or make someone feel special. Think about how happy you would feel when you would give a surprise gift to your loved one. Your gift giver is also feeling the same way. So, accept it with all your heart and don’t overthink it.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself- A gift is just a way of expression and not a representation of your entire relationship with someone. So, it’s okay if you get a brand new speaker while you gave them a collection of their favorite books. The only thing that matters is that you thought about them and that there was a genuine feeling of affection and adoration.
Gift guilt is real, common, and pretty interesting. But you can only change the way you feel about it when you change your perception towards it. Remember that the entire concept of the exchange of gifts is based on the idea of expressing love, developing connections and strengthening human relationships.
-Sanaah Jain

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