The Greatest Gift You Can Ever Give

Have you ever racked your brains at Christmas and wondered what gift to get for your better half/friend/colleague/Auntie Mabel? You've had a brainstorming session over a plate of mince pies, thinking up several 'brilliant' ideas which you've then swiftly rejected as stupid. Finally, as you polish off the penultimate pie (no-one can ever eat that last one), you exclaim hopelessly: "They're just a difficult person to buy for!" And settle on socks.What if there was a gift that was suitable for absolutely anyone on the planet - yes, even Auntie Mabel - and something that could be given any time to anyone? And was free to boot?What if you could give someone the gift of being understood? I don't mean just listening to someone, nor even agreeing with them or seeing their point of view, but truly understanding where they are coming from, what it's like in their world.Stripping away all your own judgements, experiences and prejudices and just understanding another human being at a deep level. It's a great gift - can you remember a time when someone really 'got' you - and didn't it feel amazing?It sounds difficult to do, but all it starts with is willingness, truly taking the time and being patient enough to listen and focus your whole being on the other person in the present.Deep understanding involves looking beyond words at feeling, character and everything that makes the other person who they are.If you're not sure about something, ask well-placed questions to clarify. But focus mostly on listening.The person being understood gets all the added bonus gifts of feeling accepted, valued and validated.It's powerful experience for the person giving it too, who gains great insight, new perspectives, ideas and realities. And it also solves the embarrassing problem of "Do I give them the receipt in case they want to take it back?." Especially if you got it from Argos."I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person." Virginia Satir