The best gifts do not come with a shiny bow.

Did you read the title of this post and think it was going to be something along the lines of the best things in life are free?

That may also be true but many of the most important gifts we receive in life come at a cost, or more importantly, we do not even recognize them as gifts until later.

During this time, traditional in some cultures for gift-giving, the GAIA Insights team are reflecting on our gifts wrapped in sandpaper. I can’t take credit for this term, it’s taken from motivational speaker and author, Lisa Nichols.

By this, she means the lessons we have learned, the ways in which we have grown, been inspired or learned about ourselves and others…the hard way.

If I were to ask you about the lessons you have learned in your life, it’s unlikely you’d tell me about something you learned in your university class, it would be something from your experience. I would also add to that it’s unlikely you learned those lessons from the good times. We learn the most about ourselves and the world in moments of uncertainty, disillusionment and discomfort.

Later, we can look back and see how those moments shaped and grew us. I’ve seen a social media post do the rounds lately with the quote from Greek poet, Dinos Christianopoulos, “They Tried to Bury Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds.” It’s those moments when you feel like all is lost that you are really growing, evolving and changing – and growing, evolving and changing is the natural order of the universe.

On a personal note, this year I learned to trust myself, my abilities and my instinct in a deeper way, but I only was able to do that by losing my trust in all three of those things. It was rough at the time, but as we come to the end of the year, I am so grateful for the experience and emerge a better leader and human.

Call them what you will; silver linings, blessings in disguise, or as we do here at GAIA Insights - gifts in sandpaper, what did you learn about yourself and your leadership this year?

Authored by Jennifer Tarjanyi, Altruistic Adventurer at GAIA Insights

If you are curious to learn more about the GAIA Insights team, read more at www.gaia-insights.com/who/our-team

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