Gifts.

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Once you give someone a gift, you no longer have the ability to influence what they do with that gift. You may think that you have a “right,” or that you could exert some influence on the eventualities of the gift, but if you truly give someone something, you have actually let it go fully and entirely.

You may endeavor to provide care instructions: hand wash only, or, water twice a week… that sort of thing. You many offer suggestions for use: it makes a great paperweight, or, it can be worn so many ways. You may highlight features and benefits: the second chapter is really amazing, or, if you use this function you will save so much wear and tear.

But ultimately, in giving, you are letting go.

I think that is really the gift.

So, if someone returns your gift, or re-gifts it, or ruins it, or puts it up on a shelf and forgets about it, or uses it so much they wear it out, that is not about you. You chose to give, and in so doing gave over influence on the outcome as well.

This is hard for people. Like, watch adults give kids presents and how weirdly control-y they get about how the gift is dealt with. If it weren’t such a painfully futile endeavor, it would be amusing. It is this strange experience of seeing the child appear to be the patient sage, juxtaposed against the adult as a yammering, infantile sop control freak.

It is the same when you give someone your heart. You may endeavor to provide care instructions: please be careful with this… that sort of thing. You many offer suggestions for use: be not afraid. You may highlight features and benefits: if you let me I will love you. But in choosing to give someone one your heart you have given a beautiful gift to them that comes wrapped in trust, hope, and fearlessness, and you cannot mandate its place in their life.

It is always a possibility that the person to whom you give your heart may not receive it as you would like. They may hold it in their hands for a while and consider it, like a pound of flesh, or a new pair of shoes. They may take it with joy and reckless abandon, and then decide later that it is not really what they were after and cast it off. They may take it in exactly the way you had hoped, and then crush it into a million tiny pieces because they are afraid, or broken, or maybe dishonest, or perhaps they are just too busy to deal with it.

You will never know on giving. And the reception of the gift has nothing to do with you, or some sort of strange valuation of the quality of your gift.

Interestingly, in choosing to give this most precious gift, you actually were the one who received the gift… You became more loving. More hopeful. More open. And the heart is unlimited, even though it certainly doesn’t feel like that always.

But it is. There is always more love to give.

If someone didn’t want the love you had to give, consider for a moment what a shame that loss is for them it is they did not want to receive more love in their life. And when you are done experiencing the inevitable sadness that will come from the exchange, remember, you were true in your feelings and intentions, and so there has been nothing lost.

And you will feel your heart grow bigger.

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