One Christmas, when my kids were very young, we left a small gift for them in their room that could open us as soon as they woke up. The idea was that it might slow them down enough to give us a few more minutes of sleep.
What happened was that the minute they awoke they screamed with delight. They ran into our bedroom and exclaimed, “Santa came!”
They opened their gift on our bed – a Polly Pocket and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle – and squealed with joy. I turned to my husband and declared “We could have just done this and they would be happy.”
I learned that that it’s the small thing that have the biggest impact. People don’t always remember the stuff you gave them, but they remember how you made them feel when they were with you.
This week, think about the feelings you are creating. Here are 9 ways to do just that.
1) Be welcoming – unconditionally.
I know for us this year, it will be the 4 additional dogs that will arrive with our family members. Yes, they are important to our children and so they are important to us. Even if one of them isn’t potty trained yet.
2) Take the time to listen more.
Are you really listening, or are you busy trying to think of what to say or to ask? Pausing is okay. Give some air time to others and just listen. Really listen.
3) Slow things down a bit whenever you can.
Try turning off the TV and playing a game.
4) Have a sense of humor when things don’t go as planned.
5) Cut out activities that stress you out, or give them to someone else who may enjoy it.
Do you carry on traditions just because that’s what your mother did? Or you have just always done it that way? Maybe it’s time to down scale the baked goods, or buy the shortcut cinnamon rolls (that everyone likes just as much). Don’t be afraid to start your own, manageable traditions.
6) Don’t say “we have to do this,” but rather enjoy whatever happens.
Chill out and go with the flow more. You’ll be glad you did. Stop trying to be do everything, rather enjoy the journey in what you choose to do.
7) Focus on how you are responding to the situation rather than trying to change someone else’s perspective.
Remember you can only change you. Trying to change someone else can be frustrating and futile.
8) Give grace when grace is needed.
Think before you speak. Maybe what was said wasn’t intended the way you received it. Ask for clarification when needed. And know that sometimes it’s okay to just let it go.
9) Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.”
Don’t escalate a situation by waiting for an apology. Take the higher road and refer to #8 above.
10) Give thanks for all you have.
Spend less time being disappointed for what you don’t have, or what’s not going right in you life. Be joyful for all of the blessings you do have. Count them right now. One by one.
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home. To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com