I ran this article last year, but it bears repeating.
I recently posted a story, The Unwanted Christmas Tree, on the blog last week (see the past entry.) I don’t want to ruin the plot as I hope you will read the story for yourself, but suffice it to say that a similar scenario is facing thousands of families during this economic crisis that we are facing today.
However, no matter what your financial circumstances may be, there is a gift we can give to ourselves and our loved ones – the gift of ourselves. This can be time spent reading to a child, listening to the stories of an elderly relative, the courtesy of opening a door for someone with a heavy load, or simply offering a sincere compliment to a stranger.
None of these interactions cost a dime, yet how many times have you felt too rushed, too angry, or too self absorbed to offer these little kindnesses? And the sad thing is this not only robs so many people of a bright spot in their day, but it prevents us from being the warm, loving and kind human being we were born to be.
The truest happiness exists not in how big our bank account is, what kind of car we drive or where we sit on the corporate ladder. All of those things can come and go in an instant. Read or watch the news and you will see how some kingpin or beautiful actress has fallen from grace. Money, fame and power may be something we strive for, but even if we attain it, there is no guarantee it will last. Therefore, if we base our happiness on something transient, our happiness will not be long lasting. However, the positive relationships we develop with others, as well as our connection to the earth, God, or whatever spiritual practice we observe, can have long lasting benefits.
I had a taste of my own medicine this week when I lost two major accounts in my public relations business. It was a deep cut that reduced my monthly income by half. It threw me for a loop at first as I knew I had done a great job for both clients. However, in this economy, there are going to be some setbacks. Fortunately, I don’t believe life needs to be easy to be enjoyed. And I saw a lesson in my unexpected financial diet.
Frankly, I had been a little lazy about getting new accounts. This was a needed wake up call. Now I have the opportunity to build my clientele with new businesses that share my view on creating a more peaceful world, as well as a greener environment. I don’t want to settle for just earning a living, I want to contribute to the betterment of society. The day after reframing my outlook, I received an email from someone who hired me for a great assignment. My financial difficulties may not be over, but my days of sinking into despair and thinking, “I’m no good because I don’t make enough money” is no longer a daily mantra. And the same can be true for you.
There is no doubt there are financial obligations and time crunches that make the holidays more stressful. However, you can take some steps to create value that cannot be purchased at the store. Whether it’s the holidays or a New Year’s resolution, why not fight the current stream of negativity and be a bean of hope.
Please remember, if we all work together – even in the smallest ways – by showing kindness to strangers, smiling at folks as they walk by, working at something that is meaningful to ourselves and others, as well as trying to find the positive in even the darkest situation, we can make a big difference.
For those of you who are feeling a bit grouchy, or have a grouch in your life, please consider buying a copy of Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. You can go to www.erasenegativity.com or directly to Amazon. Happy Holidays!