The gift

Health advocate David Contarini shares his views on how embracing your health can help others.

How do you react when someone gives you a compliment?

Do you cringe with embarrassment, look away and generally dismiss it or do you hold firm, look the person in the eye and thank them with confidence?

Imagine the compliment as a gift, like a nice bottle of wine or maybe a thank you card.

That person – a friend, colleague or even your boss – has taken the time to reach out to you to acknowledge an achievement or positive outcome which you’ve been involved in.

Friend: “Hey Dave, I just wanted to give you this small token of my appreciation for the work you did on delivering…”

If you legitimately deserved it, would you ever contemplate giving the gift back?

Not Likely.

You: “Sorry mate, I can’t really accept it…um, yeah, no, I can’t take that from you.”

If you refused the gift, what effect do you think that would have on the giver?

Disappointment, maybe even resentment.

And that’s why 99% of the time we love accepting gifts from those with whom we share respect, trust and kinship. We want to share in the moment, to honour their kindness and appreciation, and complete the ‘giving is receiving’ loop. 

Now, imagine the gift is your health.

Perfect in every way – a strong heart, billowing lungs, muscles and bones which bend our body every which way.

Most of us have been lucky enough to be born this way and we count our blessings.

Yet over time, drip by drip, we turn our back to the gift of health.

We pull on its silver ribbon and it begins to unravel – little by little.

Our blood vessels clog from eating poor food, our muscles and bones become weak through inactivity and our lungs fill with cigarette smoke.

Rather than accept the gift and wonder at its beauty, slowly over time we hand it back.

We need to reverse our behaviour; embrace the gift and pass it forward.

By embracing our health, we’ll be in a better position to help others – our family and friends.

Our kids see us grocery shopping, preparing real food in a real kitchen, being active in the yard, walking the dog and even doing the occasional push-up.

There’s no sign of Uber Eats or couch potatoes.

By positively influencing others we, in-turn, hand them the gift.

The positive habits we have as adults – as providers and influencers – we pass onto our kids. 

And there’s great power behind that.