The end-of-year holiday season is a time of celebrations, getting together with family and friends, shopping frenzies, and advertisements of joy and merrymaking are everywhere. For many people where things are going great in their lives, it’s a time when emotions run high and happiness seems to be boundless. But, for others less fortunate, it can also be a time when emotions run very low and they feel even more left out of the merry-making. A few positive words/actions from you can help empower and uplift someone who may not be having a great time this holiday season. Doing so also empowers and lifts you up as well.
Ways You Can Do/Say To Empower Others
With my clients, I’m usually teaching them ways they can empower themselves. But this holiday season, I thought I’d pass on a few tips of how your kind words/acts of encouragement could help and empower someone else to have a better holiday.
As Boomers, you come from the generation that found practical ways to promote the concepts of peace, love and compassion towards others. Below are 8 ways you can revisit those ideals and put them into practice.
1. Speak Your Love. Start by practicing the old saying, “Charity begins at home”. Life can turn on a dime, so tell your family, friends, today how much you appreciate them in your life.
2. Lend A Hand. When you’re out in public, do you look the other way if someone falls, seems very ill, or lost, dropped their groceries, etc? Although there’s a lot of controversy about whether bystanders should become “Good Samaritans”, you can probably sum up your safety quickly in offering assistance to someone. The good most always outweighs the possible risk to you.
3. Encourage Someone. There’s an old BeeGees song with the lyrics that say, “Nobody gets too much Heaven no more, it’s much harder to come by, I’m waiting in line. . . Nobody gets too much Love anymore, it’s as high as a mountain and harder to climb”. It only takes a moment to offer a word of encouragement or praise to someone – even a stranger. Dale Carnegie once said “Abilities wither under criticism and blossom under encouragement”. Think about what the world would be like if we all passed on only one word of praise or encouragement to someone else?
4. Be A Good Will Ambassador. Volunteer yourself, or organize a group of neighbors, friends, family, to spend a little of your holiday visiting the elderly in assisted living places, or sick children/their parents in children’s hospitals. Sit and talk with them, offer to play a game of cards with them, read a story, sing holiday songs to them, or just offer encouragement.
5. Change Your Body Language. You’d be surprised at how a raised eyebrow, frown, folded arms across your chest, looking down your glasses at someone when they’re talking to you, looking away, interrupting them, can negatively impact your persona. Try to put your best-unspoken words on display and keep the exchange positive.
6. Talk To A Stranger. I have a friend who makes a point of exchanging a few friendly words everyday with a stranger. Why? You never know what that person’s life is like and a few pleasant words from you could be the only ones they hear that day. It encourages you to come out of your social boundaries a little as well as offers a smile to someone else who may need it.
7. Practice Democracy. Whether you’re a Republican, Independent, Democrat, Green party, Tea Party, or nothing party, practicing the tenets of democracy at work, at home, in public, are important in empowering both others and yourself. Act, speak, in a respectful way that communicates that everyone’s opinions and feelings matter.
8. Teach Young People. The words from a popular holiday song come to mind, “We are the world, we are the children”. Young people are the world’s future adults. It’s up to all the adults in their life – parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors – to teach by example what it means to live in peace and harmony, settle discord through respectful communication, respect others differences, and lend a helping hand to others.
This holiday season, when you’re in the midst of having fun, celebrating with your family and friends, running here and there shopping, visiting, and all seems right in your world, it’s easy to forget that some people are not having that same experience. Perhaps their family situations are in discord, or they no longer have any family, or they’ve lost a job with financial problems, they’ve recently lost someone through death or divorce, or have just fallen on hard times that has caused them to feel anything but merry. It could be a neighbor, a coworker, a sales clerk who helps you in a store this season, your mail carrier, elderly people living in your local community – there’s someone out there who will greatly benefit from your simple act/words of empowering encouragement.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach