Once again the joy and challenges of the holiday season have arrived — accompanied by expectations, hopes and a sense perhaps of inventory taken at this time of year.
We look back on the year with feelings of accomplishment, awe, sadness, happiness and insight. Perhaps with joy; perhaps with regret.
For some, a year goes by quickly; for others it can feel like the longest journey of a life.
However this year has been, there is an aspect of the passage that’s always helpful to remember: There is opportunity for evolution, development and growth — as painful as this may be at times.
Some may say nothing has changed; I feel just the same as last year. If we look closely at our lives, however, we may notice small, minor adjustments that took place unbeknownst to us.
Perhaps we were a little more compassionate with ourselves when before we had been harsh. Perhaps an experience with another person or some event gave us pause for thought and reflection in a way that had not been considered before.
Taking inventory on the small things in life, the “lesser,” even insignificant experiences, often holds greater significance than we realize. Insight and wisdom from what we may have passed by us as inconsequential.
Charles Dickens, the great author and social commentator of Victorian England, made much note of the importance of how we treat our fellow man. He stressed in his way (in books such as “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol”) the importance of the “small things,” “the small kind gestures,” unnoticed yet relevant. These hold great weight in the big picture of creation and in the leading of a happy and meaningful life, Dickens tells us.
In daily life, perhaps it’s offering a smile, a kind tone, a small consideration, a validation phrase, encouragement, empathy, selflessness without expectation of reciprocity. With those we love, those we like and those we don’t even know. These kindnesses can be healing and strengthening to the core of who we are.
Try it out this holiday season: A simple smile at the store clerk. A gesture of goodwill. A helping hand to someone crossing the street who may appreciate it. A comment of appreciation. Something small warms the heart more than we may imagine. Feel the inner glow!
Have a wonderful holiday season with good wishes, much fun and heartfelt good cheer!
More tips for the holiday season
- A time for celebration, reflection, renewal
- Spending the holidays with your inner child
- Have yourself a Merry little Christmas …
- New Year’s resolutions you can keep
Psychotherapy video: Dr. Katrina Wood talks about the holidays and the great expectations that go with them. “You really have to work very hard not to personalize” disappointments brought on by family and friends, she says. With Dr. K is Dr. Stephen Feldman, MFT