Observe a child and you’ll witness the gift of full expression. He may cry because he felt left out. She cries because she feels scared of a big crowd. But as we get older instead of voicing how we feel, we block them. We learn to stifle our inner voice in order to appease a parent or to fit in. Instead of saying, “I’m hurt because I wasn’t included” or “I was scared because I felt abandoned,” we get angry, close up, shut down, stop listening.

I think the gifts these posts bring this week is a reminder that we not only have a voice, but using it is the best gift we can give ourselves. It’s one of my favorite wrap-ups of our best blogs of the week. These posts remind me that it’s okay to not be nice all the time, that showing my vulnerable, unlovable side is scary and that it can even ruffle feathers sometimes. But the alternative, holding it all in, hiding what’s real because it feels safe, is not a way I want to live. And you don’t deserve to live that way either.

As you’ll read below, when we’re able to give wholeheartedly to ourselves, we become better partners, parents, people. In fact, just taking the time to read these posts, could be one of the best gifts you give yourself.

The Ultimate Gift – Giving the Gift Being Authentically You

(Neuroscience & Relationships) – Being authentic isn’t just being yourself. It’s about accepting who you are, loving yourself and feeling comfortable in your skin. But it’s also about respecting yourself and others, creating healthy boundaries, and knowing when to say, “yes” and when to say, “no.” It takes courage to love and live authentically. But as this post shows, it will change the way you interact with others and how you feel about yourself.

5 Gifts to Give Yourself

(Partners in Wellness) – It’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re caring for someone else. But there is an easy way to remedy that. This season, why not take time out just for you? Here are five self-care gifts that keep on giving even after the holidays are over.

Feed Your Mind – Mindfulness And Your Thoughts

(The Therapist Within) – Just like we watch what we fuel our bodies with, it’s important to be mindful of what we feed our thoughts. Here’s a food for thought. Reflect on how you treat yourself by what you allow into your mind.

Make Your Goals Engaging and Meaningful this New Year

(Adventures in Positive Psychology) – We often make resolutions the way we create shopping lists-in a hurry and without much thought. This eye-opening post will encourage you to be more thoughtful this year of not only what you want to create in 2012, but why you want to create it.

To Quit or Not to Quit

(The Gentle Self) – If you’re a sensitive soul, you’re more likely to get hurt. Sometimes it’s difficult to decipher when a friend’s insensitive remark, however, is a sign we need to give them the heave-ho or whether we need the courage to confront them. This might help.