Happy holidays! This is a special time of year. A time for reflection and renewal. A time to enjoy the company of family and friends. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know by now that I am a huge proponent of living with a clear purpose that is defined by YOU. I also advocate looking at the bigger picture and giving back to the people, the community around you. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose sight of our larger purpose sometimes and the holidays can especially put us to the test.
With a flurry of activity surrounding meal prep, social gatherings, decorating, and present buying, we often forget to look past the glitz and glamor of the season and consider the needs in our community.
Even if you don’t see it on the surface, there is a lot of need out there. Volunteering in the community (especially with your children) is a great way to recognize some of those problems, but it’s not the only way to make a difference in others’ lives.
Need probably exists right in your own community, your own circle.
Maybe an acquaintance of yours has been going through some serious health troubles. Or maybe a friend has suffered some recent financial blows. You likely don’t have to look too far to find a person or family in need.
So, what can you do?
Reach out. Have empathy. Even small acts of compassion can make an enormous difference. Cook or purchase a few meals for your friend in need; send a thoughtful holiday gift. Or, if you feel comfortable doing so, ask them what they need.
It doesn’t have to be awkward if you frame the conversation right! Start with empathy, recognize the need, and let your friend know that you are planning on helping them and would like some guidance on how best to do that. It could sound something like this:
“I know you and your family have been going through a rough patch due to your illness. I would like to help out—either financially or otherwise—but I need some direction on how to do that. What do you need?”
If you live in the Midwest like I do, your friend may protest and say that s/he doesn’t really need anything. You might have to stand your ground and let them know that they are important to you and you insist on giving them a helping hand.
If a direct conversation simply doesn’t seem appropriate, consider giving a financial gift or a gift card to your friend in need. You can make the gift anonymous, or not, depending on the situation.
However you approach your giving, do it with empathy and compassion, keeping their needs ahead of your desire to do good. Remember that small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in others’ lives. Even something as simple as buying a financially-strapped family a holiday wreath can help make someone’s world a little brighter.
Here’s to a mindful, caring holiday season! Enjoy!
I love to talk to my clients about the meaningful parts of life. If you’d like to have a conversation, please reach out and contact me.