Whether we like it or not, this year Christmas will be different. We already know that. For that reason, I would like to offer you a different gift. In fact, I would suggest you give yourself a gift: BENEVOLENCE; the ability to be well-meaning and kind towards others. I suggest you apply it to yourself.
Over the years working in organizations side by side with leaders aiming to perform and to find fulfillment in their careers and lives, and even more so as a coach practitioner, I have observed time and time again how individuals are willing to deploy efforts and demonstrate resilience in the pursuit of their goals and their own development. There is much to be honored and celebrated in their desire to evolve, to grow, learn and ultimately expand their footprint. Sadly though, together with the strive to excel also come the relentless self-criticism and unrealistic expectations people often have for themselves. The criteria for their own success are such that they seldom experience satisfaction. Even more so this year than in any other year before I would venture to say.
To aim to perform is to engage in an ever-increasing movement. Each new target we reach becomes the platform from which we launch ourselves towards the next one. Any athlete or professional musician will tell you that they are forever seeking to improve their last performance. There is no resting on their laurels. It is a noble goal to want to excel, however it is one that can easily deplete us of our energy, enthusiasm, and vision if we do not take the time to replenish ourselves.
All I am suggesting is that you give yourself a break. Take the time to acknowledge all that you have accomplished in this past year particularly considering this special context Covid-19 brought upon us. Honor your efforts, the courage you displayed, the resilience you demonstrated, the creativity you used and perhaps recognize the fatigue you now experience, the impatience you feel, the shadows of sadness that may be floating around you, the doubts whispering in your ears and hear those as a cry for benevolence towards yourself.
Kindness is a gift. To bring it upon yourself, reach out to those whose company is enjoyable to you, even if you can only do so virtually and send your inner critic away. There is no more need for it. Look around and see all the good you did around you by way of your contribution and simply being yourself. This is so much already. This is quite sufficient to be worthy of appreciation, of your own appreciation.
Be kind to you first. This is a legitimate need and a legitimate care. Then, please turn around and do the same for others.
This is my Christmas gift to us all, boldly believing that yes, we can change the world we are in, one kindness at a time.
May this Holiday season and this new year be full of joy for you and those around you.