The Art of Soulful Giving


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Positive EnergyIn my book, Positive Energy I describe the Four Laws of Energetic Attraction that manifests positive relationships in our lives. The fourth prescription is “Soulful Giving Generates Abundance.” Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season it would be beneficial for us all to reflect on the art of soulful giving. A gift is a transfer of energy from one person to another. Typically the giver chooses an object, wraps it in a box, ties a ribbon around it, writes a card, and presents it. Then the receiver reads the card, undoes the wrapping, reacts to the gift, and takes that subtle energy in. These vibes continue to permeate if the gift is used or displayed. Ideally this ritual is an extension of the heart, a sign of respect, appreciation. At worst, though, it’s a ploy to manipulate, bribe, blackmail, show off, or is part of a give-to-get cycle. In this blog, I describe how soulful giving draws caring relationships and brings them to fruition.

Gift-giving has been read in many different ways. For instance Freudian psychoanalysts adamantly view a patient’s gift to them as “acting out,” and never accept it. Rather, the alleged unconscious motives behind the gift are much probed, such as wanting to be liked or appeasing guilt. Despite the Freudian thesis, many cultures would consider rejecting a gift an insult. In Japan, modest gifts are traditionally exchanged on first meetings, a sign of respect. However, there are also cultural faux-pas such as a present of a clock in China–the word for clock is similar to the word for death, an ominous omen!

To spread positive energy in your world, the following exercise offers gift-giving strategies. As with all soulful giving, they’re intended to convey bountiful vibes for you and the receiver. Make sure to cross check if this is true on your energy-meter. However, one outcome you can bank on: if you give from your heart, vitality ensues.

  • Give spontaneous gifts for no reason other than you want to. Don’t just wait for designated holidays. A token gift lets someone know, “I appreciate you.” Though you don’t do this to “get something back,” you set in motion an energy cycle that inevitably brings sweetness to you.
  • Distinguish “good” from “bad” gifts for special occasions. Research studies have indicated that a “good” gift matches a person’s needs, not just what the giver wants. A “bad” gift is perceived as a bribe or aimed at securing some favor.
  • Choose gifts that resonate with the person. You may see something you intuit a friend would love. It leaps out at you, makes you smile, or communicates, “I’m the One. Buy Me!” You may not know the import the gift will have, but trust the force that’s compelling you.
  • Add loving vibes to gifts. Do this by holding the object or wrapped box in your hands for a minute, closing your eyes, and sending it a blast of loving energy from your heart center. These vibes will spontaneously expand out from your chest, down your arm, into the gift, which absorbs them.
  • To receive gifts also requires an energy awareness. The easy part is when they’re offered with love. Accept them in that spirit; let the positive vibes infuse you. If you feel a gift has negative motives, you have a few choices: accept, reject, or negotiate.


    Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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