My brother-in-law is a kind and generous man who over the years has given many wonderful gifts to our family. Last year around this time he contacted my husband as he was preparing to shop for my Christmas gift. Knowing that I travel regularly, he decided he wanted to buy me some new luggage. Being a Blue, he wanted to make sure he bought the right thing, so he asked my husband what he thought I would want. My husband is a smart man. He is also a Green who has been married to a Yellow Red for twenty years. So make things simple, he just asked me what his brother should buy me. My response was, “Something pretty. Maybe a fun animal print or some really bright colors.”
He sent a link to my husband asking for his approval on his selection…a nice, well made Samsonite luggage set that came in solid black, solid gray, or solid navy.
Um, no thank you. I went to Amazon and found something I liked. My husband sent him the link.
Blue brother-in-law: That??? I don’t want to buy her cheap junk that won’t last! The Samsonite set will last twenty years!
Yellow me: Why on earth would I want to use ugly luggage for twenty years?!?!
Wise, Green husband: Brother, please. She’ll be happier if you buy her the cutsie one. I promise.
On Christmas Eve I was presented with a huge box, and in it were the two cutest suitcases I had ever seen. I loved them even more in real life than I did online. They were perfect. They may not have been “perfect” in the Blue eyes of my brother-in-law, but they were perfect for me. And isn’t the point of a gift to give others what THEY want?
How often do we still try to push our definitions of “perfect” or “right” or “best” onto others who do not think like we do? How much better can we communicate when we shift our focus away from our preferences? How much better can we serve others when we focus on their preferences and motivations? How much better can we love when we remain aware of the emotional needs of those around us? Especially the personalities who are opposite our own.
P.S. In 2016, my perfect luggage made it to Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Las Vegas (twice), San Jose, Milwaukee, Escanaba (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), Sacramento, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and Albuquerque.