By: Tina Baiter
Every year at Christmas time, I love watching renditions of my favorite Christmas story, A Christmas Carol. Whether I read the book, watch it on television, or see it in a local theatre, I am always reminded of the most important thing I have in my life: Relationships.
You Need People
I would hope if you’re reading this, you’re also familiar with the Charles Dickens classic story. And I would hope that by watching the pitiful Ebenezer Scrooge this season – surrounded by piles of money, yet so bitter and unhappy – you would realize the thing humans need most to be happy in life is not wrapped under your Christmas tree. For it doesn’t matter how much wealth a person has accumulated if they have no friends or family to share life’s experiences with.
For that reason alone, it is imperative you become an expert at managing relationships. You must learn how to surround yourself with an inner circle of good friends who will build you up and support you. In your business life, you must surround yourself with colleagues and partners you can rely on, especially in tough times.
People Need You
More importantly, you must remember that sometimes people need you too. There are two sides to every relationship. Often times we become really good at taking from others, but we forget to give back. Even worse, sometimes we forget about those who have no one else to turn to, especially during the busy holiday season.
When I was in college, I worked full time at a large department store that was open until the last minute possible on Christmas Eve. They then reopened as early as possible on the day after Christmas. Because I needed the money for college, I would always rush home late at night Christmas Eve to celebrate with my family. Then, before Christmas Day was over, I would rush back to my apartment cities away from my family to get ready for my 5:00 a.m. shift.
For that reason, I used to tell my family we could never go out to eat at a restaurant on Christmas Day. I never wanted to be the reason someone else had to be away from their family. My mom reminded me that for some people who no longer have a family, a restaurant provides the only interaction with another human being they get on Christmas Day. In a small way, those people who are less fortunate than I to have a loving supportive home to go to, find their Christmas miracle in the workers at the restaurant.
That lesson my mom taught me years ago remains in my heart each holiday season. When I see someone bitter over Christmas, I rethink why. Perhaps they don’t have a family to go home to. Perhaps this time of year reminds them of sadness. Perhaps they’ve never learned to build the relationships needed to truly understand the joys of Christmas. Perhaps they really don’t understand the spirit of the season.
And I take it upon myself to try and figure out how to spread a little extra Christmas joy their way. What about you? Is there someone you know this week that needs the love and support of a friend? It’s not too late to share the spirit of Christmas with them.
[Ed. Note: Want more relationship tips? Check out the new Living Every Minute program. Share your thoughts about this topic below.]