Wrap Compassion Up This Season
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia
Through my work I have long been aware,that the holiday season is a time when people can feel starkly aware of what they “don’t have” and what others “do have”. This awareness and pain usually isn’t around the financial struggles one is having, although this can be the case. More often than not, it is around relationships. The loss of relationships. The awareness of being alone. Changes in the family structure. Life style changes. Having no extended family – no siblings, no children, no parents. These are issues of the heart and often don’t show up in the midst of daily interactions.
The truth is everyone has a story. Everyone has hardships. Many times, someone’s story is not something we will know and/or see. If someone looks like he/she has it all together, it isn’t wise to assume that is the truth. Underneath the veneer may be a totally different story. In fact, if you want to assume, assume there is an untold story there. If we know someone is in pain and struggling, hopefully we will reach out to let that person know we care and that he/she matters. And if we don’t know, and someone we encounter does carry pain – a life story of hardship, a struggle – don’t we still want to offer compassion and make someone’s day a bit better?
Perhaps this holiday season, you want to wrap up the gift of compassion to as many people as you can. This would mean you look the store clerk in her eyes and tell her to have a good day. It would mean that you let someone go in front of you on the busy road where everyone seems to be driving crazy. It would mean you let a political comment roll off your back and you allow your heart to reach his/her heart in love and just send blessings. The list goes on as we move through the day in and out amongst our fellow human beings.
Monetarily it is good to care about those who most noticeably need support, as we often do during the holidays. But let’s consider the undisclosed hardships and move to the heart of the matter as well. It is also imperative to realize that we all need to feel like we matter and that others care, especially during this season where the picture can be magnified. Spending time being mindfully aware of making a difference to those who cross paths with us can be as equally, if not more, impactful. Use this time of gift giving to be aware that everyone is on the journey of life and that there are those times we all need a little extra support and care, yet often we journey that difficult time without asking for extra support. Pay it forward to each person who has been gifted to be in your path this season. Add a special touch to the moment: additional brightness, a sprinkle of glitter, a bigger smile, an authentic connection where you make sure the other has caught the gift that he/she matters and
you wanted to let them know.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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