With all of the disappointing (and unsettling) news out these days, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless about what I can do to, well, turn the world around. But last night, my husband and I were out for dinner, and we started talking about how the only way to make things better is to be a better person yourself. As Michelle Obama famously said in the election: When they go low, we go high. So on this Merry Christmas Eve morning, I say let’s go high in 2017.
Some of these things I already do. Some I aspire to. But either way, sometimes it’s nice to have these affirmations to return to time and again. I’m going to print this out and pin it on my fridge.
Thinking of someone? Write them a card. I received a handwritten card in the mail from a friend recently, and her words meant more than anything I could have received in an email or text.
As soon as you wake up, don’t get out of bed without listing three things you’re grateful for. Or try it before bed. Studies show it leads to more positive thinking and boosts happiness.
If you appreciate someone, tell them. How often we won’t say anything because we assume they already know — but they may not.
Smile at strangers. It will put a spring in your step — and theirs.
When someone lets you go on the road, wave thanks. It’s just nice.
Listen more. Talk less. You may learn something, have a deeper conversation or simply tune in greater to a friend’s need.
Meditate for 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the evening. It may not be much, but it’s enough to feel warm brilliant goodness in your soul.
Always say please and thank you. We tell our children to say it, but do you say it yourself? Make a conscience effort to do so, especially when it comes to your spouse.
Go out of your way for someone. A parent falls ill, offer to help with the kids for a few hours. Someone gets an operation? Organize a neighborhood meal delivery schedule. See an old lady struggling with her groceries, offer to help her pack them into her car. It makes a big difference for people.
Stop cleaning the (damn) house. Sometimes I spend so much time doing busy work that I don’t tune in 100 percent to my children. When I’m older, what will I regret: Letting my house fall into disorganization or not appreciating my kids? I think we all know the answer.
Don’t stop reading the news. Even if it’s scary or stressful, it’s our job as citizens of a democracy to hold our leaders accountable, and how can we do that if we’re not informed? (This is the journalist in me!)
Love is all you need. There’s a reason why everyone loves this song. It’s because it’s true. Send your love out to those around you; you’ll brim over with happiness when you get theirs in return.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.