DEAR READERS: Merry Christmas! Children young and old await this special day for months on end. The promise of treats from loved ones, delicious food and good company warms our hearts. For those who are Christian, this holiday represents an even bigger promise -- that of the goodness and purity of God's love through the birth of Jesus Christ.
The arrival of this great day invokes all that is possible when you lead your life with love. What does that look like? I have learned that you must invoke love for yourself first. This starts with acceptance. When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you offer love and tenderness to yourself, or do you pass judgment? Do you trust that you will be able to navigate your life with grace and integrity? Do you believe that you are worthy of love and respect? If you do not already believe that you are a gift of God's love, begin to believe it. It will change your outlook about everything.
When you accept that you are a precious manifestation of God, it becomes possible for you to see the same in others. Look around you. Notice the people who are most important to you. Now choose to think of them as reflections of God's love. If you notice brittle feelings bubbling up as you remember something that makes you irritable or uncomfortable about someone in your life, do your best to replace those feelings with acceptance. Look at the person again and remind yourself that this person is doing the best he or she can do at this moment. You can support the person simply by choosing to see him or her with softer eyes. Let go of your judgmental feelings and memories of wrongs from the past. Instead, be in the moment and be fully with that person in the here and now. Pay attention to what the person is saying or doing. Resist the temptation to call the person out for mistakes. Choose to be supportive. Decide that your intention will be uplifting rather than degrading. Make this a conscious exercise throughout your day.
You will find that it will be much easier to be with others, stay grounded in your sense of self and maintain your energy. When you practice being a conscious observer throughout your day, it becomes almost effortless to notice when to talk, when and how to react, and, best of all, how to enjoy the moment. Believe it or not, when you decide to live love -- to guide your thoughts, words and deeds by your awareness of love within yourself and in others, you will remain energized and at ease.
I believe this is the most precious gift of this holiday season -- tapping into the love inside you and sharing that with whoever crosses your path. Do not mistake this engagement of love with romance. It is actually more profound than that. The love I am talking about represents the connection between your heart and that of others. When you lead your life using the awareness of love as your lens for seeing everything before you, you open the door for true happiness for yourself and for those who cross your path.
(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)