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At various times during the year, holidays often bring forced reminders of making sure we acknowledge people we know. While not everyone celebrates Christmas, no matter who you are or what you celebrate, it is hard to avoid the spirit of the season. Everywhere we turn, there are constant reminders of “spreading good cheer” and “tis the season to be merry.” But what does all that mean and why does it take a holiday to celebrate people we care about? We find all too often these days that what ends up taking over is the stress of finding the right gift, having enough money to cover the holiday expenses, and making sure we don’t forget to acknowledge in some way every single person who shares our office space. In our efforts to keep up with the hustle and bustle of “spreading the cheer” we might forget to remember the one’s who we see every day and who need us to remember them the most.
Back in November, I posted an article about gratitude and how researchers have found that one key piece to happiness is expressing thoughtful appreciation to the one’s we love. This attitude for gratitude is contagious, and has an effect on givers and receivers. What we know about every humans biological make-up is that we all have a burning desire to be loved, to feel loved, and to experience love. We also know that love is not materialistic or measurable. It is not tangible or easily explained and is experienced by different people in so many different ways. We have even learned through the work of Dr. Gary D. Chapman that there are 5 love languages that can be felt and expressed in distinct ways based on someones background, upbringing and belief system.
Nurturing our relationships can be challenging at times, especially when life gets busy, the days are hectic, and a recent feud has gone unresolved. We tend to forget the people who are closest to us during these busy days, often times assuming they know just how we feel, or that they don’t need to hear how we feel. This misconception is what can lead to the slow deterioration of a relationship over time and as the days move on, it can fester or erode a once thriving relationship.
We all need to remember that biological drive inside of us. The drive to feel loved and appreciated by those who are closest to us in our lives. Those feelings we get when we are around our closest friends, family, and loved ones are what motivates us to keep maintaining those personal relationships, nurturing them back, and continuing to invest our time and feelings into them. We need to be reminded that it is the one’s who we know the best that want to hear from us more often about how much we appreciate them, and vice versa. It is those close people in our lives that have the greatest impact on our self-esteem, our feelings of importance to them, and the gratitude we offer them returns those feelings back to them. Psychology Today posted a great article reaffirming the importance of the attitude for gratitude. Check it out and remember to spread the love as often as you can. You will get it back in return if you do.