We’ve all opened a present that was well wrapped only to discover it was not our size, colour, style, etc. It was not what we wanted, needed or even should have received. Now if you have brothers like mine, you may have received a gift that reflected little or no thought as to how the actual present was wrapped. On a good day, you may get it in the actual bag in which it came. But, whenever I opened the bag, it was always what I wanted and needed.
Relationships and finding partners are akin to getting presents. Too often, when we are younger we look at people and admire them for their physical attractiveness or social skill. We are impressed with the wrappings and assume that the content will be as good as the presentation; we think the outside should be a reflection of the inside. It can be, but it does not mean it will be. We spend so much time looking at the outer package and admiring it. It’s like a beautiful flower or center-piece on a table. It grabs your attention and lights up the room. The flowers can look real but it’s only when you get close up and touch it you realize it is made from plastic.
It’s totally natural to be enticed by external beauty. The famous poet Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” However, I have often found that opening presents that are so well wrapped with ribbons and bows galore are the most difficult to open. They take longer and often I end up cutting my finger as I
try to pry it open. Presents that are out in the open, at which you can peak from a distance, are straightforward and honest in their own right. You know what you are going to get.
Another famous saying I’ve heard is that “beauty is a curse” and it can be the case …for both parties. If you have it, then there is a tendency for you to not develop your inner package since you get to the front of the line simply because of your packaging. You may be getting by because they appear enlightening and delightful. There is no pressure for you to work hard, since the world gives you easier opportunities as doors open, or the table is cleared for you to sit at.
On the contrary, if you don’t have the external beauty, then society can give you the back seat in the room and sometimes you are left standing alone. Both individuals have to work to get to their rightful place of importance. Strength, honesty, sincerity, and integrity are merely a few characteristics that help build the inner package so that the individual deserves to be in front of the line.
As a father, I want my children to develop the inner package so they are truly beautiful on the inside in a way that adds value. As a father, I also don’t want them to be deceived by the illusion of external beauty; a task often much harder than merely building a good package. My father often told us, “All that glitters is not gold;” and this is true. It’s often hard to go behind the illusion and see the inner workings to find the real mechanism behind the person. The packaging distracts us from finding the soul, finding the true character, finding what matters. So, I will also remind my children that the same consideration should be given to people who were not blessed with the fancy wrapping paper. Give them a chance to show the real light that shines from within, for, after all, even diamonds come from coal.
The ability to know the inner person is really what sustains life and relationships. External packages, as beautiful as they are, do unravel. The ribbons are so silky and slippery they slip and slide eventually. The paper wears out over time. Inevitably, the box that you eventually open, if it’s empty, leaves you disappointed. You have nothing that can carry you or enlighten you, and you will want that long after the wrapping paper is gone, left. or ignored.
Knowing this is important, in that if you were graced with beautiful external packaging you must work on putting something valuable inside. Something you’ve nurtured, created, or developed through honest effort. Acknowledge you’ve been blessed to have a face that can open doors or launch a thousand ships, but don’t sit back and wait for your suitor. Now on the contrary, if you didn’t come with the fancy packaging, than what you put inside and develop will shine through and this will enhance the external package. The people who are lucky enough to discover this early in their life are truly blessed in finding the real gold.
I really believe people gravitate and want good presents more than they want good packaging. That is the true meaning of a gift. The packaging is enticing for the short term, but the inner workings and contents are forever and more valuable than the beautifully wrapping. After all, how many people save the wrapping paper?
So in summary, my advice to my children, and to yours, will be: when looking at presents be careful and take a good look at what’s inside. When creating your own present make it a gift, because a real gift is what we all really want. Real gifts last forever and leave a footprint even after they are no longer in the present.