It is not unusual for me to post on Facebook when something provokes my sense of gratitude. It is a way I pause in appreciation and also remind my friends that even the smallest things count when it comes to being grateful. Imagine my surprise when a comment came in response to one of my posts this weekend accusing me of being self-centered and ignoring the needs of the poor and homeless. OUCH! That was not the kind of response I had expected, yet it happened.
It made me wonder what might have triggered that individual’s response. Was it more about what was going on in the life of the commenter or was it about me? Should I be less grateful publicly in the future?
After coming off of a week dedicated to hosting a very successful fundraiser for the Cleveland Pregnancy Center, leading groups, speaking and volunteering my time to two different non-profits, I know I am not a self-centered person and as much as that comment hurt my feelings, I can’t allow myself to own that comment. What I can do is continue to reach out through life and business to help others find more bright moments within their lives.
It is quite possible that some of you reading this might encounter some “energy vampires” during the days ahead in spite of the festive holiday theme. What can each of us do to avoid an energy drain or worse - becoming one of those energy suckers ourselves?
Support others as you are able. When you begin to feel depleted, stop! True giving energizes the giver. Take time to take good care of yourself. Pay attention to how you feel as you give of your time, resources and attention.
Be aware that people may be sensitive to your good fortune. Temper your comments with sensitivity to the audience. Be aware that things you say and do may be twisted by their perspective and taken as you did not intend. Apologize for triggering the response, but allow yourself to hold on to the original gratitude moment.
Speak up and ask for the help you need. Holidays are a time when everyone’s to-do lists and stresses get bigger. Speak up sooner rather than later. Whether it is with cleaning, shopping, or doing dishes after that big family gathering, don’t assume everyone can read your mind. ASK!
Receive and acknowledge help from others graciously. Help may not always come in the form you had imagined. Take it anyway and say “thank you”. A hand written note is also a nice way to create a permanent expression of your gratitude.
Start a gratitude journal. Every day as part of my daily writing habit, I take a moment to jot down at least five things I am grateful for. Coaching clients and participants in my creativity groups are also urged to take on this habit. There is evidence that those who take time for daily gratitude are thriving. According to research summarized by Robert Emmons in his book Thanks! gratitude journal keepers reported:
- Feeling better about their lives overall
- More optimistic about the future
- Fewer health problems than the other participants.
- Improved sleep
- Protective effect against heart attacks
All of the above contribute to optimal health, which is something we all want.
As the frosty mornings and the emerging holiday sales call for our attention, Thanksgiving Day provides a chance to pause and celebrate the good that has come to our lives. Be sensitive to the needs of the world that are yet unmet, and do your part to heal yourself as you give and serve. The world is a better place when we pause to appreciate. Make it a habit!
If you need more help with staying strong this holiday season, I hope you’ll check out my book, Energy Makeover – A Conscious Way to Stay Young, Have Fun and Get More Done! and the Energy Makeover Daily Journal at www.energymakeover4u.com and available on www. Amazon.com. You are also invited to join me for a live event in Westlake, OH at 7PM on Nov. 28 Practical Energy Self-Care Tips and Holiday Survival Tune-Up. Details at http://eftholidaytips.eventbrite.com/