The holiday season is upon us and I can feel all the excitement, the hustle and bustle of everyone trying to complete their Christmas gift list for friends and relatives, working and mailing out Christmas cards to all the peoples on their list, happy and smiling faces all around me and the feeling that this is the most happiest and wonderful time of the year when miracles and unexpected surprises abound. But for some of us, it is the most dreaded, difficult, stressful, depressing, loneliest, and saddest time of the year.
There are so many different types of emotions that come into play for each and every one of us. But the most important thing we must all try to remember is to always have the attitude of gratitude by realizing how blessed we truly are. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear, a job, family and friends who love us and care for us. But the attitude of gratitude is something that needs to be practiced and focused upon daily. For me, it is extremely hard to always have this attitude of gratitude. It is a daily struggle for me – to remind and to realize myself as soon as I wake up in my morning-- how absolutely blessed I am; to appreciate everything that I am currently blessed with.
When I was younger in high school and college and after graduation, I was a totally different type of person from today. Back in those days, since my parents were so wealthy and sent all three of us siblings to exclusive, super expensive, elite parochial schools. Only the wealthy could send their children there …. however, we first had to pass a very difficult entrance exam and a panel of interviewers and to be accepted into these schools. All three of us were accepted and I was always looking around me and trying to keep up “with the Jones” and I did. I always opted to purchase all name brands in outfits, shoes, handbags, etc., and always had a brand-new sports car every year. With this type of early childhood, I never even heard of being grateful because everything was just handed to us without even having to ask, our parents. After I got married, I got so exhausted of looking around me and trying to compete or do better than my friends and neighbors. This type of mentality will never give one an attitude of gratitude.
Many of us are so blessed and can not even see how blessed we are. Why? It is because we always choose to focus on what the other peoples have materially, such as: a bigger and more luxurious home, a very expensive car, more fancy and luxurious name brand clothing and other material things or more monies, a better and more prestigious job, etc. Once we fix our eyes on this type of thing, there is no end to envy and desire. It is not a healthy way of living one’s life. Just thinking and writing about this type of attitude exhausts me.
I, personally, believe that the secret to becoming grateful is to practice gratitude daily. I am speaking about myself as well. It has always and still is a daily struggle for me to show/display an attitude of gratitude. What works for me is to pray early in the morning before I leave my front door to accomplish all of the things on my to do list for that day. For me, it takes an extreme sense of discipline and focus to be in the gratitude spirit----to be able to see and appreciate all of the blessings I currently have rather than yearning for more material things and a different place to live in this world.
The secret way, I believe, one can achieve the spirit of gratitude, is to be able to truly be in the moment and to always be aware of all of the blessings one has instead of looking around and desiring with envy what others have in the way of material things, their better jobs and lives, etc. I also believe that any one, including myself, can achieve an attitude of gratitude. However, there are some people who are just always naturally grateful for everything in their lives.
As my mother would always remind me when growing up when I always complained about my life and the problems I had: We all have problems as we go through this journey of life, and you are not the only one with problems. Some people are facing a terminal illness or cancer, or some couples spouses are being unfaithful or in some families the parents or children or the entire family may be addicted to drugs and the list is endless…. So stop complaining about your life and the trivial things you have to endure daily but be grateful for all that you have……. Yes, I do understand what my mother was trying to teach me as a child. We all have problems as we all go through this journey of life-------no one is exempt from problems. But rather it is how we choose to react and deal with/or handle our daily problems/obstacles(unexpected) in our paths that set apart the ones with the attitude of gratitude.
In other words, as my son would always say to me when he sees me in a grumpy/complaining mood: Mom, choose life not death-----what he means by this saying is simple and clear: stop complaining and look at everything with a positive/happy attitude: one of extreme gratefulness and joy in spite of what you are currently facing and having to deal with. Yes, it is easier said than done by someone else observing you in that moment but for me, it is not easy thing to do. As I mentioned earlier in this article, for me, it always takes a lot of discipline and practice to show a positive and grateful attitude when facing difficulties/problems. But, nothing is impossible with focus, determination, and a will/strong desire to change.
So with all that said above, why don’t you all make this holiday season one you will always remember as the most wonderful time of the year. Here are some ways to accomplish such an attitude of joy, gratefulness and happiness:
According to Jolie Kerr in her article: How to Survive the Holidays:
1. Manage your time: good advice--- because we still will have all of our daily chores to do plus a holiday-to-do list.
2. Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author, advises: “focus on those activities, so you have the energy to enjoy the season.” In other words, determine and decide early
on before the holiday season arrives: to plan for how much extra you can take on, meaning: “it is ok to say No to obligations you don’t feel strongly about ---- like the family year-in-review letters, the school bake off or decorating your home with Christmas décor.”
Make other necessary obligations easier to manage-----For example: “buy or order paper holiday cards by mid-November or opt to send out digital cards--- decorate your home the first week of December l. Finally, do your gift shopping before December 15.”
If you can plan and manage to accomplish all of the necessary things you do or are obligated to do----then you will have time to focus on and enjoy all of the things that make the holiday season special for you--- and then, this holiday and all of your future holiday seasons will become: The most wonderful time of the year!!
I hope all of the information I provided above will help you all to cope with, and to plan for a better organized way of accomplishing all of the things/tasks that you need to accomplish in a most timely fashion to allow you and your family to truly enjoy this most special and wonderful time of the year! Here’s wishing all of you, your families, and loved ones: the merriest, blessed and the most wonderful Christmas ever.
Until we meet again, keep on smiling, dancing and meeting new peoples at our daily events. If you see me around on Smeet, please do not hesitate to say Hi, and if you have any questions regarding my articles or would like to read a new topic that was never written in my past published articles, please message me in private. Always remember to Love one another, because Love conquers everything. God bless you all, Happy Smeeting and have a blessed and Merry Christmas!!! <3
SAYURI, EN JOURNALIST