This post comes to you in three parts. A history, A realization and Some questions.
Recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern in my behavior, to be specific in the entire way that I give birthday gifts to people. I’ve always been the kind of person who had to give a really good and personalized gift. I can’t stand the idea of a store-bought gift unless it’s something the person actually needs or a book and therefore most of my presents are handmade or DIY projects.
The fault is not in the way I made these presents but the people I chose to give them to. The thing with personalized gifts is that they need an immense amount of time, hard work and your compassion like any good present does. For me, gift giving doesn’t range on a scale of “good, better, best or anything in between” but two radical ends, “the best gift or the no gift”.
A History (what happened, which incident made me want to write about this):
Today, it was the birthday of one of my friends. Let’s call that person “the other person or TOP” for future reference, I guess. (Which I guess makes no absolute sense seeing how I don’t own an anonymous blog but, I’d prefer not taking names and anyways the post is about my realization and not TOP so let’s get on with it, sorry).
So, this morning I wake up knowing it’s my friend’s birthday, we’ve known each other for six months now, I suppose. I slaved myself for almost three hours and made a few drawings, a series of cartoons and funny aspects and anecdotes from our time together. Now the entire reason behind why I made the effort to do this may have been that today was a Saturday and I had six hours of class later so, I decided to allow myself to spend time doing something else instead of studying or maybe, it was the fact that I’ve been drawing again recently and I had some great ideas whilst in the shower and got hyped about making it for them. End product, half an hour before class I was done with it and quite happy, what happened later is what disappointed me, I guess as I progressed through the day, I came to realize that this person might not care about me as much as I thought they did. I guess what set it off was the fact that every one of their friends met up with them and cut the cake, and got to spend time with them whereas I couldn’t or maybe it was because I wasn’t invited, and the moment I realized this, it irked me just a little bit (to not say it blatantly).
I don’t blame them for anything at all, in truth it might not even have been in their hands to be with these sets of people, there could’ve been many reasons as to why I wasn’t invited to be with them and they are given the full benefit of doubt from my side, the person I do blame, though, is myself for spending so much of much time, effort and love on this thing, I believed it was beautiful and would’ve loved to keep it for myself. I’ve done this in the past too, given away presents I loved so much by the time I completed them, I expect them to give me a satisfactory response, in the end feeling like now that will result in them liking me better. I think the weird thing might be that I don’t and can’t do this for everyone for the lack of time and my obsession over perfection in everything and it has come to my notice that I don’t really give these beautiful gifts to the people close to me but to people who aren’t as close to me.
My love for TOP is conditional, which is what allowed me to even come to this conclusion. When I gave them a gift it hadn’t a sole motif of “gifting” them, but an additive to it was to please them, which would improve their opinion of me in their eyes, it wasn’t to procure their love ,don’t mistake me, but to simply have them see me as I want them to see me because I didn’t feel like who I really was, was being seen by them. These were my conditions and when I didn’t get that “validation” in return for all the work I put in, I cursed myself for letting myself spend so much of me on something that gave me so little in return, and if there is one thing I hate it is when I expect something for my hard work and not have the results. Which got me thinking about unconditional love, there has been one person in my life whom I have loved unconditionally, who is the epitome of true love for me, to whom I give and I give and I give all of myself and my feelings expecting and not wanting anything in return, which made me realize how selfish and conditional most of our love is towards people, which isn’t ,to be honest, a bad thing because we cannot as survivors in this world afford to love unconditionally as that idea embodies that we be true altruists which doesn’t fare well for our survival and hence, is a rare human characteristic.
I think I lost the meaning of giving gifts for a moment, instead of putting so much effort into making something for the people I didn’t know so well, if I’d spent this on the ones that did love me, I would be much happier. Believe me, when I say it like that, it doesn’t mean that I don’t give my absolutely close friends gifts, I do, I do, it’s just that I feel like I can take it more lightly, like if it’s given later it’ll be fine still, because they already love me so much.
This exudes safety, that is what I feel in these close relationships, safety. I know that I’ve succeeded in procuring their love which doesn’t decrease my love or care for them one bit, it’s just as strong but when it comes to trivial matters like gift giving, I know they’ll understand if I can’t do it at that very moment. Which is just wrong of me, in the end this entire internal debate of mine isn’t on the actual gift but the idea of it, the gift in itself isn’t what is important at all but merely the act of giving it, it says “I love you, I care about you, and I might say it verbally and you might know it anyway but, today it’s your birthday and I’ll go a step beyond and try to make sure that you’re happier today and though it isn’t a lot, I want you to have this thing I made which is significant of my compassion and will show you how important you’ve become for me.”
So, I guess what disappointed me more today was not that I gave TOP the gift but that there are people in my life whom I love infinitely more than this person whom I HAVEN’T gifted anything yet due to whatever reason, and they let me get off so easy.
I don’t know, I’m a very immaterialistic person in general so “things” aren’t something that hold much value to me and using the term “gifts” so often in this post made me a little sick because I feel like I’m obsessing so much over some”thing” but as I said before it’s not the gift but the mere action of giving it, the amount of work and it’s representation of empathy for another that was the root cause of my innate controversy. What I was reminded from this incident is that it’s okay to want to improve yourself in the eye of someone else if you feel you are being misjudged or not seen to your full potential or if you just want to please them and make them happy but, while you go around securing these relationships, it is more important that you tend to the ones you’ve already made.
(P.S– this other person I talk about in this is a really nice and kind person, I love and care about them as a friend and do not hold any grudges against them, it was what I felt and hence wrote about which I feel ended up straightening my priorities, so it’s all good.)
Some questions :
What are your thoughts on this? Has this happened to you, what are your expectations from another when in a relationship? Do you think disappointment and not receiving “validation” makes the other person bad or are you a true altruist?
Other than that, I hope you are having a positive day and are happy. 🙂