What is a Reflection Gift?

What is a Reflection Gift?

As we close out 2022 and prepare to walk into a new year, it’s the perfect time to stop and reflect on our lives and events of the past 12 months. It also brings up the ability to talk about reflection gifts and self-care. Reflection gifts can be a great comfort not just to family and friends who may be grieving a loss, but also for anyone who wants to stop and take some time to evaluate their current phase of life. There is a famous quote from Confucius that reads, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” No matter what difficult season someone may be walking through, there is always the chance to gain wisdom if we learn and mature each difficult step of the journey. 

So, What is it?

If you don’t know what a self reflection gift is, it is simply a gift that helps someone reflect on their feelings and take some time for himself or herself. This is especially important after there has been a death or a significant loss. You must give yourself time to process and grieve. When we unexpectedly lost our second son Cooper at 36 weeks in the delivery room, it was a loss like I had never known. I didn’t realize how important it was to set aside time to intentionally reflect, grieve and ultimately heal. A reflection gift can be given to a friend or loved one, or it could be a gift to yourself!  

Think About Grieving and Self Reflection

Looking inward and caring for our hearts can help the healing process. When we lost Cooper, a sorority sister (who I hadn’t spoken to in years!) gave me the best piece of advice that I’ve carried with me ever since. She told me that grief isn’t linear. There isn’t a beginning, middle and end to grief. It evolves. That means you have to give yourself the time and space to feel how you feel, no matter what the calendar says. 

Taking some time to process those emotions can help you gain a sense of peace. Many times after a loss occurs, we want to rush through it. Just get me “past” all of these hard things so I can go back to “normal.” But far too often these losses – whether it’s a person, a pet or even a beloved job can change us going forward. We need to pause and evaluate our feelings in a healthy way. 

People Process Their Grief Differently

This can be a hard one to grasp. Some people have to verbalize their emotions and want to continually talk to friends and family about a situation. Others prefer to keep their words to a minimum and process internally. Some people can be a bit of both. There’s also a group who wants distraction. After the death of a spouse, they might try to stay continually busy just to keep those difficult emotions at bay. But that can only go on for so long before those emotions come out in either a healthy, or unhealthy way. A reflection gift can encourage them to move in a healthier direction. 

Some Favorite Reflection Gifts

Self reflection journals are a great gift for anyone, but especially someone walking through a difficult season. Did you know there are verifiable benefits to journaling?  One paper touts that over the past 20 years, a growing body of evidence shows the beneficial effects of expressive writing about traumatic or stressful events has on physical and emotional health. A natural companion to a beautiful journal is a great writing pen. How many times have I grabbed my journal and had to hunt down a free pen I stole from my church? Too many to count. But I’ve found that when I had a nice pen that I splurged on, I made sure to keep it with my journal. Another route to go is a beautiful prayer shawl. The ones available through Laurelbox come with a note that reads, “This shawl was made with you in mind and covered with endless prayers. Your heart may be heavy and your days may be long, but may this be a physical reminder you are indescribably loved and not alone.” What a meaningful gift to a friend - or yourself! Some people like to light a floral bundle and picture releasing negative energy. Whatever gift you choose, know that it will become a beloved item to the recipient. In the weeks after we lost Cooper, a friend sent me a devotional specifically designed for infant loss and miscarriage. It was difficult to write out my feelings at times and answer the prompts, but it also helped me walk through the grief as opposed to hiding from it or rushing through it. Now it’s a cherished keepsake from a very hard time of my life.  

Let Your Friend Know You’re There as Support

Although everyone’s journey through grief is unique, self reflection activities and gifts are designed to encourage the recipient to experience moments of peace throughout the process. That can be done in ways big and small. Many times, I’ve shared my “Grief” Playlist on Spotify with a friend who is struggling through loss or infertility. Don’t forget, letters in the mail are a great way to support loved ones and acknowledge their difficult moments.  The year after we lost our son, a friend who lived on the opposite coast sent a snail mail card each month to make sure I knew I was seen and loved, even though 2,600 miles separated us. Every time I walked back from the mailbox with that card, I had just a little more hope. Remember, it’s not the gift itself that is important. It’s making sure your friend knows you are available to talk whenever they are ready. And until they are, you’ll sit with them in silence. That is a true friend. 

Lanna Britt

Lanna Britt was a national news producer in Washington DC for nearly a decade covering politics, breaking news and current events.  She now lives with her husband and three children in Richmond VA. She has two sweet babies she’ll meet again in heaven.