In the full season of holidays that span multiple religious doctrines, belief systems, and traditions, there is a natural inclination to take stock in what you are doing and how you do it. This is a time to remember all the things that are important beyond the material.

Taken together, all the holidays have something to teach about the attitudes necessary for a full balanced life. No matter how you view the time of year, whether through a religious or secular orientation, there are attitudes that transcend activities and provide an emotional setting for better living.

Gratitude

Things will go wrong in life, but don't assume everything is bad. Even when the hour looks bleak, there will be that which sustains and helps you, whether health, family, personal gifts, opportunities, supportive people you know, or even another day to improve your lot. Gratitude helps preserve a balanced outlook.

Hope

Despair can crush the soul and spirit. A Pollyanna attitude doesn't help. You have to see what is wrong to work for the necessary change. Hope gives you a reason to try, and it helps one remember how many times people made a big difference even when it seemed impossible.

Humility

No one makes it completely on his or her own. Even truly self-made people (and there are far fewer of them than most of us think) can thank mentors, breaks that went their way, and even someone giving them a chance. Don't ascribe everything to yourself and be sure to give credit where it is due. Acknowledgement of others goes a long way.

Charity

There are too many who have helped you along the way to ever be able to pay it all back. What you can do is help others. Give physical goods and money when you can -- there will be more than you need, and everyone should remember what it's like to stand with their back at the wall. As importantly, if not more so, give of yourself. Help with your knowledge, support, understanding, and insistence that you won't put people into boxes any more than you'd want them to do the same to you.

Determination

No one holds off an army or travel across the deserts looking for some obscure child without determination. You won't achieve anything without it. Keep moving toward your goals, and the type of person you truly want to be, with intent and focus.

Perseverance

Determination won't matter if unaccompanied by perseverance. You will need resilience to outlast everything that might come your way. Bend rather than trying to hold back the tide and rise again to keep going.

Compassion

There is a reason that so many religions revolve around a variation of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you or refrain from doing to others what you'd not want to endure. Compassion is the recognition of the tie of shared weakness and pain we all share. It doesn't mean to offer a free pass on anything and everything. But it is always important to understand what drives people. Do so and eventually you can start to see what drives you and perhaps get a bit of freedom from it.

Wonder

It's a big world out there, with so many amazing things that dwarf what we try to accomplish. Let the universe put you in your place and then see that, wherever it is, you have a role to play that is important.

Sincerity

If you're not sincere, you're faking it. People know and many will be wary of trusting you. The sincerity you project reflects back in sincerity from others. Why live in pretense if you don't have to?

Published on: Dec 28, 2015
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