This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving here in America. A time when families and friends come together to give thanks for all their blessings. This year, 2020, is different. It is by far the strangest year of my lifetime.
With COVID-19 many people fear being close to their loved ones. We have government entities dictating how many households can gather in one place. Here in California, restaurants are prohibited from serving food indoors. Residents aren’t allowed to be out past 10:00 PM.
While it is easy to become discouraged, it truly is a time to give thanks. Whether you can be with your loved ones or are spending the holiday alone, there is a lot to be thankful for. We must look for it. First, and foremost, we must be thankful we are surviving! We have withstood more inconveniences this year than I can ever remember. We have discovered we can change our entire lifestyle almost overnight. We have been blessed to convert commute time to family time. Even those that have lost their jobs now have opportunities to develop new skills and use the time to explore different career paths. We’ve been able to reconnect with old friends. We’ve become comfortable in connecting with families and friends across the country and around the world using video streams. We have reduced pollution while working from home. If you look for things to be grateful for, you will find them.
This Thanksgiving and with the official start of the holiday season, there is something we all must remember. Whether you are around family and friends or bumping into strangers while shopping, we (you and I) are fatigued. Some of us are more aware than others. The bottom line is we have:
Each of these strands of fatigue are strong by themselves. Combined they can be devastating, especially to relationships! These fatigues have led to heightened sensitivity. Little things become big things. Everything is magnified. Emotions are running high.
This holiday season, you will have conversations with family and friends. Conversations can easily become debates. You may debate politics. You may debate COVID and/or the wearing of masks. You may debate sports or countless other scenarios. It is important to remember with fatigue everything is magnified. Never forget, the relationship is more important than the topic.
Unfortunately, fatigue and heightened sensitivity will not go away any time soon. As we draw closer to winter, daylight hours continue to shorten. Financial strains from unemployment and purchasing of gifts will add to the fatigue. Cold and Flu season are being added to the mix. Predictions are with holiday gatherings the pandemic will worsen. Upcoming election run-offs and the on-going dispute of the Presidential election add fuel to the fire.
Through the holiday season, and well into next year, I encourage you (and those you care about) to be the gatekeeper of your mind. You get to choose what you listen to, watch, and read.
You can choose to avoid the news and the constant bickering over things you cannot control. Listening to negativity and arguing over a topic that the debate will have no bearing on is a waste of time. Furthermore, it can be harmful to your physical and mental health.
Choose to look for positivity. Choose to seek out the blessings in situations. Choose to be the change you want to see in others. Choose building harmony over discord. Choose to strive for laughter and love. Choose to focus on what you can positively impact. Remember, you cannot change anyone but yourself. Choose to be the one, your family and friends can look to for positive energy and a bright outlook.
Here are some ideas you can implement to positively affect your interactions with others, while sharing different perspectives.
Instead of seeking to be understood, first seek to understand. This will shift your thoughts from proving you are right to simply trying to understand how the other person is feeling and how he/she came up with their perspective.
Instead of being self-assured, focus on curiosity. This will take you from a hard stance of knowing you’re right, to expanding your understanding of others with an open mind and compassionate heart.
Instead of staying in your comfort zone, get comfortable being uncomfortable. This will allow you to overcome fear of the unknown and allow you to appreciate diversity and entertain different perspectives.
Instead of minimizing the opinions of others, respect them. It’s important to remember they acquired their opinions the same way you acquired yours by what you have seen, heard, and experienced. The difference of opinions isn’t necessarily right or wrong, rather what you have or haven’t experienced.
Instead of judging others by their religious and political beliefs, choose to focus on their humanity, character, and how they treat others. This will allow you to appreciate what you have in common rather than dispute your differences.
Instead of generalizing, choose to accept there are always exceptions. No group of people are all good or all bad. Not all politicians are crooked, and all Christians aren’t good.
Just like with viewing 2020, if we look for the good in people, we will find it. Seek the humanity in others before looking at differences.
Finally, instead of being frustrated others have different views than yours, be grateful for the different perspectives. It is through the sharing of different perspectives we find better understanding and mutual respect. With mutual respect, the sharing of different perspectives leaves us feeling we have learned something from each other.
Remember, there is greatness within you. You must choose greatness. It won’t develop on its own. I believe in you!
In closing, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving, and may you always be giving thanks.
“Never let a situation be more important than the relationship.“
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Published by Bryan M. Balch, Results Coach
Helping Individuals and Businesses Achieve Desired Results
Image by 4653867 from Pixabay.com
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