People laughing. Some are talking about parties they will be hosting or attending. Others are smiling as they share the cute anecdotes their young children have said as tension is mounting until Santa arrives. Workplaces are bustling with holiday rush deadlines; retailers are on robotic mode trying to exceed their quota for the extra “end of the year” bonus; some are talking about the baking they have been doing for the past few weeks leading to THE Day, anxious to welcome their family and friends. So many caught up in the holiday spirit, it can be contagious yet for others it can be a turn off for some…
Many young children are not so excited about the holidays or rather they have disturbingly mixed feelings. They may welcome the time off to relax or cringe at too much time at home where there is tension and conflict among siblings or between parents. Some worry about the over indulgence of drinking or worse. What about Uncle so and so or Aunt what’s her name? The last time they saw him or her, they still cannot wipe away the memory of what happened… Some children have to become the parent because of the drinking…It’s not always what it’s all cracked up to be.
The holidays can also be just any old day for some because their life is “same ol’- same ol’” and dark clouds are permanent fixtures that hover over them.
Why? it’s relaxin’ and a no brainer. I don’t have to even try to think!
Stop it, I say!! Your brain is turning to mush sitting there, watching flic after flic on the that screen!! Can’t you see?
Oh, is that what it is? “Mush” is it? I thought it was called depression.
Oh…(person silently ducks away)
Ever have a conversation with a friend…well, not a best friend but the many friends and colleagues/peers/classmate, where some have become closer, who confide in you and you sometimes in them, ask you how you are? That conversation above is a snippet on how they can be cut so short, whether you are a student, a worker or person meeting someone at a coffee shop or on the street.
What is the politically correct response when someone appears sad, depressed or mourning a loss for example? Some may say, “Well, you have to be able to listen and be there for the person”. Okay, I can see that happening but for many individuals, there is an internal clock they have and it individually sets an alarm when “enough is enough” to listening. It can go like that snippet above or like this:
How are you doing today? You look kinda glum, what’s going on?
Nothing and everything I guess. I feel a bit lost.
Hmmm, how does that feel to feel lost?
I’m sorry it’s been so challenging for you lately.
Hmmm, gee I’m sorry! Is there anything I can do…?
Here! have a chocolate that’ll perk you up
Which response would you feel is helpful? Don’t know? You found the real you in one of these? Great! There isn’t really any right or wrong answer…okay, I take that back, saying “buck up” would probably be a no-no. But ultimately what you say is not always what is important but how you say it, how you feel…just be genuine. If you really don’t have time to listen…be careful what you ask to not give the pretense that you have the time to listen because when you open that door and give the impression to someone that you intend to be there to listen for a moment, then slam the door back in their face with a “buck up” or “that’s too bad…umm, I gotta get back to work now.” That is of NO help whatsoever. Don’t pretend…just be real.
For those of you readers who are not too sure what “real” is I have a great book to suggest and it is clear as water flowing in a brook. For the well read and articulate person who comes up with “genuine” or “authenticity”…um, just read the damn book. I am referring to one of my all time favourites, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
child looks up in awe,
lines mock her whithered face,
snuggling in her arms
A warm smile or a hand on a shoulder left one second longer are examples of “real” holiday blessings. Happy Holidays!
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams,Illustrated by William Nicholson