With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be spending time with friends and family, and taking a break from work. 

This year is the first year that I’ve fully appreciated just how important gratitude is within our lives. I’m looking forward to spending some time with the people that matter the most to me, and just appreciating being there with them in that moment. 

We all only have a finite time in this world, and we never know when the people who matter most to us might not be here any longer. So with this in mind I wanted to drop you this message as a reminder, to make sure to set the time aside to truly appreciate and spend time with the people that you love. 

Also remember that no matter what your personal circumstances, there’s always going to be many others in the world who are far worse off. Rather than focusing on what we don’t have, we need to make the most of building upon what we do.

The thing about family is that we’re stuck with them for life, and often it can take a lot more effort to maintain healthy relationships with everyone within our families. I talk to friends who have fallen out with their family over things that in the grand scheme of things, aren’t even remotely close to the level of importance that having a healthy relationship with your family is.  

For example is it more important to be right, or to have a parent?

Who is responsible?

The person within a dynamic between two people who has more awareness, is the person whose responsibility it is to do something about building that relationship. 

It’s easy to place blame with dialogue such as “It’s not my fault that the other person thinks that way, nothing I can do about it”.

Nothing hurts more than regret. I’ve spoken to people who fell out with a family member who then passed away. Only after going past the point where there now really is nothing that they can do about it, and they look back on the situation from a totally different perspective, do they realize that beforehand in actual fact there was EVERYTHING that they could have done about it. 

There’s so many things that they could have said or done, so many different choices that they could have made. Now they don’t have any of those choices, and all they’re left with is regret. 

I personally never want to be in that position. If I have a disagreement with someone that I love (Let’s be honest, it happens – we’re all human), I place a much higher importance on doing what I can to make things right, rather than trying to BE right.

A valuable lesson

A lesson that I learnt from Justin Woolf within the SFM, is to look at every situation while asking yourself “How can I use this as an opportunity to grow?”. Focusing on selflessly understanding the other’s perspective so that you can understand what’s making them react that way (thereby making yourself more open-minded), will always trump trying to tell someone why they’re wrong and you’re right (making you more closed-minded).

Even if you are right, it’s never going to be worth destroying your relationship with that person to prove that you are. 

I know that this message may or may not apply to you, but if it does then I hope it helps you to have a great holiday season with the people that you love. If it doesn’t, then still I hope you have a great holiday season with the people that you love 🙂 

Here’s to a great end to the year!