Gather with gratitude and humility
As I round the corner from Thanksgiving and enter the season of light I often pause to consider the many things in life that I am thankful for.
I don’t think it matters a bit which religion or holiday traditions you follow, the close of the year is great time to reflect on all of the things that have gone well in the preceding months, and consider where you want to head in the coming year. And this year, I have much to be thankful for.
Yes there have been a few tough moments and a time or two when things did not go as I intended, but I try to appreciate these situations and the people involved for what they have taught me about myself and the ways that they have helped me to realise who I really am and what I stand for.
It goes without saying (I hope) that I have had a “do no harm” self-directive from the beginning and that I always aspire to leave situations better than I found them.
Most of the time I have succeeded in this.
On the rare occasions when I have failed, I have done so rather spectacularly, but learnt much in the process.
If you are one of the lucky ones who has helped me fail — thank you — I will never forget what you showed me about human nature and myself in the process. When you write a newspaper column this “do no harm” policy takes on a whole new level of complexity.
As much as you want to help, you have to get over the idea that you will always get it right and never have to admit anything embarrassing or foolish about yourself.
You learn quickly that it is only by admitting when you have stumbled that you become relatable and trustable.
It is only by researching facts and weaving a message into the fabric of a story that you become memorable. This writing thing has stretched me greatly and for that I am very thankful.
Having said this, what I am even more grateful for are the phone calls and e-mails and words of encouragement from those of you who read this column.
To know that someone has read your words, let alone found them helpful, is all that any writer could ever ask and I am very thankful to all of you for inspiring me to keep going.
A wise man once said, it is only by knowing other people that we come to know ourselves.
As we will discover together, human nature is rather like a marriage between a snowflake and onion — no two people are exactly alike but they have many, many layers.
Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself at an impasse with an individual, and ask yourself:
Are they really being stubborn?
Or are they merely challenging you to reach beyond your own level of self-awareness to the place where you can see their struggle for what it is and find a way to help?
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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