Mental & Emotional Health

The Best Gift of All

Editor’s note: In the middle of the holiday season – a season of gift-giving that can be expensive, stressful and unproductive – Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of the multimillion-copy bestseller Love, Medicine & Miracles, reminds us that the greatest gift we can give – and get – costs nothing but means everything. Here, an exceprt from a new edition of another of his works, A Book of Miracles.

A teenager complained that her grandmother’s house did not have a full-length mirror to see how she looked. Her grandmother responded by saying, “If you want to see how beautiful you are, come here and look in my eyes.”

I believe love is the answer to every question you could ever ask. It is the solution to every problem, and it is necessary for our survival. When we choose to love, we can never be wrong. We will always be in the right place at the right time because love brings order, harmony, and peace.

By the same token, being loved is the gift of a lifetime. To be accepted by someone means they are transcending all your flaws with a commitment. Love is blind to our faults and flaws. I believe that, while we choose whom we love, we are wired with the desire to love from the time of our birth.

Many people believe they have some terrible defect at the center of their being, which they must hide if they are to have any chance for love. Because they believe they are unlovable and condemned to loneliness if their true selves become known, such individuals set up defenses against sharing their innermost feelings with anyone. They fear and avoid relationships.

I cared for a teenage girl with severe burn scars who wore a turtleneck even on hot summer days because she felt she was “ugly.” Weeks after I suggested she spend her summer working as an aide in a nursing home, where they wore uniforms that would reveal her scars, she found the people there didn’t notice them. “This is because when you are giving love,” I said, “you are beautiful.”

Love is energy, so it knows no time and no physical limitations. I know from my experience — personally, and through mystics, dreams, and drawings — that we are capable of communicating with animals and the dead and can know the future. I think that when two people are constantly conscious of each other it sustains a connection, which eventually leads to their being reunited.

All we can ask of life is to be given the chance to love.

Dr. Bernie Siegel’s multi-million best-selling first book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, was published in 1986. He is the author of multiple other books including A Book of Miracles, 101 Exercises for the Soul, and 365 Prescriptions for the Soul. For more information, visit

Excerpted from the book, A Book of Miracles. Copyright © 2011 by Bernie Siegel. Reprinted with permission from New World Library.



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