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Do You LOVE Me?

Simple Living (featured column)
by Deann Curtis 

While shopping at a local store the other day, I overheard a very personal question.  It is a question that led me to jump to several conclusions and inspired me to question the way we perceive love.

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As I wheeled my cart through the store, I noticed a young couple stopped at a display.  The lady exclaimed over the merchandise, picked it up and asked her companion, a young man, "Do you love me?"  If I had understood the question correctly, she was asking him to prove his love for her by buying her a gift.

We've all been in her shoes at one time or another I am sure.  If we think for just a moment, we can come up with something we "need."  But, can we just as easily come up with the money to purchase this "need?"  Probably not.  But if we were loved someone would give it to us. How did we get this way?  More importantly, how can we stop feeling and acting this way.

I myself have very early memories of my Mother bringing home treats to us kids.  They were a reward for us staying home with Dad or at our grandparents, and being good while she shopped.

Then there were the special feelings we would get when Mom would give us special sick person food and things to occupy us while we were sick.  We always had soup, pop, crackers, lemon drops and wintergreen lozenges.  Then there were new paper dolls or books to keep busy with in bed.

Mom also had a special way of celebrating so many holidays.  Again we would have the special food and small gifts to cheer us up.  We were given gifts and treats for being good, when we didn't feel well and to remember special days.  My mother of course meant no harm with these gifts and indeed provided an excellent example of a loving parent to all of us.

But people do have a way of getting used to being given gifts and sometimes start to even expect them. Once a person has gotten used to receiving gifts and even has begun to expect them, what can he or she do to help with this problem?
I believe that jealousy often plays a part in our expectations.  We see our neighbor with a new car and decide that if we were really loved we would have a new car too.  Then we start to feel unloved.  Then the grumblings start to grow and we can suddenly remember ALL the times we didn't receive the gifts that we deserved.  If we would just learn to thank God for all of the gifts He has given us, we would realize just how very loved we are.

We could also try to look at other ways people around us are expressing love to us each and every day.  Some people show love by working to help others.  Some people show love through affectionate touch.  Some people show love when they spend time with others.  Still other people show love by the way they talk to and about others.  If you have been shown love any of these ways, you have been given a wonderful gift.  Cherish it.

Another thing you can do to help fight the grumblies, would be to budget your money more wisely.  First make sure that you are taking care of all of your needs.  This will help prevent feelings of despair from forming.  Then with a little of your leftover money, budget some money to take care of your wants.  If buying a scented candle and using it at home makes you feel loved and cared for, then do it.  But make sure that you put it in your budget.

During gift giving holidays, giving to other people, will take some of the emphasis away from receiving.  Another option, would be to set up a plan.  Maybe you could draw names in your extended family for Christmas.  Or maybe you could give a specific list of wants and needs to those who ask.

In addition, if the love is really what we are looking for in the gift we need to learn to graciously accept and be thankful for all gifts we are given.  This could include a box of clothes for your child, homemade dinners when you aren't feeling well, help in the yard, someone to teach you a new skill and someone to spend a special day with.

By keeping the gift grumblies at bay, you will do wonders for your budget. By realizing all that you do have, and by being thankful for what you have already been given, you will not feel the need to over spend.  You will be able to resist the temptation to splurge, because you will have already gone over your budget and made a few purchases part of the plan.  Plus, by accepting all of the gifts that you are given, you will also be saving money.

Homemade gifts and labors of love will indirectly affect your budget.  By accepting hand-me-downs, you are helping your clothing budget.  Accept a homemade dinner from a friend and your food budget suddenly gets some relief.

So with a change of attitude, you will find more ways to feel loved and you will be helping your budget at the same time.

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