Tips for the Holidays: Be strong, Be Kind, Be Grateful

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I wish you a most pleasurable and memorable holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or no particular holiday at all commit yourself to making this time an especially good memory. Remember, your life is not simply about the moments of experience but the memories of those moments, memories that last as long as you want them to and can be re-visited whenever you want. Here are three tips to help you build the kind of memories you will want to  keep and savor.

BE STRONG. Holidays usually bring interactions with co-workers, old friends and family. Sometimes the anticipation of these encounters can generate pleasurable excitement, sometime they generate dread and anxiety and sometimes you just expect to be bored and want them over with. It is likely during one or more of these events someone is going to say something insensitive, unkind or downright offensive. Be ready and be strong. Whether the comment is made out of awkwardness, inappropriate humor, malice or stupidity do not let it get to you. Perhaps the statements are predictable, you’ve heard them before from the same person or maybe they will catch you by surprise. No matter. Give people the benefit of the doubt and give yourself an immunity shield. No one can make you feel bad without your consent. Don’t give it. Brush it off. Forget it. Don’t let anyone deface your memories.

BE KIND. It’s possible you are one of those people others dread confronting. Maybe you tend to comment on a persons weight gain, hair loss or wrinkles. maybe you think you are being clever and you are sure the other person knows you are joking. Stop it! Think before you speak. Moods are very fragile things don’t be the person that carelessly or intentionally brings someone down. The Golden Rule is a useful guide but maybe you are tougher than others and what you wouldn’t be hurt or offended by is hurtful of offensive to others. Be more careful than normal. Don’t say anything likely to make someone feel bad about themselves and their lives. Show you care by what you say.

BE GRATEFUL. This has become a platitude that everyone says but few do. Gratitude is not just saying thanks but experiencing thankfulness. It requires that you put your life and the past year in perspective. Sure there were bound to be disappointments and there is plenty that can justify your anger or anxiety. But there is so much more that you genuinely should be grateful about. It’s not only the bad things that didn’t happen to you its all the god things that did. Identify them and celebrate them.

Don’t forget you not only choose which memories to dwell on, you can consciously create memories. Create good ones for yourself and others.

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