If you were asked to share with me the best gift you had ever given in your life, what would it be? Would you tell me about something you had purchased for someone? Would you share with me about a gift you made for someone? Or, would you say that the best gift you had given was something that couldn’t be purchased in a store or made by hand? Well, I was asked that question recently. I have to be honest, my mind started to think of all kinds of things. Times that maybe I had found that perfect item that I knew would bring a smile to someone’s face or perhaps something nice that I had done for someone. Though, none of those really seemed like something that would necessarily be considered the BEST gift I had ever given. The one thing that continually came to mind was something that I couldn’t find on a shelf or purchase online. It was actually a gift that I had given to myself. However, that gift grew to include everyone I knew or would know in my life. It was the gift of forgiveness and acceptance towards myself. You see, growing up I was a different person than who I am today. I think most of us could say that if we look back at the insecure, selfish, know-it-all teenager that most of us were. (if you weren’t, please don’t take offense.) I wasted a lot of time in my life trying to fit in and be somebody that I wasn’t. Even when I was part of the “in-crowd” I felt like the outcast. I never accepted the person God had made me and worked hard to be my own worst enemy. Over the years, I learned to despise the person I had become. Despise is a pretty strong word, but it fits perfectly. After years of mistakes and heartaches because of paths I had chosen for myself, I had an event happen in my life that changed me forever. It was then, more than half of my life later that I finally gave myself the gift of loving me. I allowed myself to finally see the person I was meant to be and to forgive myself for the person I was. I now accept that all the bad choices and wrong decisions I made in my younger years are what have made me the person I am today. As I said at the beginning of this post, the gift I gave to myself has now given back to so many others. I am finally able to be the daughter, the sister and the friend that I have always wanted to be to my family. I am the mom I always wanted to be, but didn’t realize, because of fear of failing. I am a wife to a man that accepts me with all my flaws and yet still makes me feel perfect. At least perfect for him. Most of all, I am a best friend to me. I didn’t think I would ever be able to say that, but it is the best gift I have ever given and I am so thankful for it. Tell me, what is the best gift you have given?