DEAR READERS: Merry Christmas! I want to take a moment to pause at this sacred time of year and offer my gratitude to all of you for your support and love this year and throughout the many years that I have been writing this column. I feel blessed to be connected to a national network of people who care about treating their family members, friends, co-workers, bosses, neighbors and even strangers with respect.
There is so much unrest in the world, and it is important for us to focus on being kind and thoughtful to others. During the holidays, a number of things can and do happen. People travel to be with family and loved ones. People enjoy rekindling relationships. And commonly, little moments of friction arise. They come out of corners that we may not have even noticed were there. Anything from jealousy to old frustrations to doubts and fears that linger in the recesses of our thoughts tend to emerge during what is supposed to be a time of great joy.
I want to ask all of us to hold onto the experience of joy and wonder as we navigate each day. When tough encounters come up, let's look for the goodness in them. When frustrations mount, let's access patience and compassion. When old behaviors threaten to consume us, let's remember that we are not living in the past, but are firmly rooted in the present.
We have the ability to direct our thoughts, words and steps. We have the responsibility to take care of ourselves and to treat our world and all who inhabit it with respect. I take that responsibility very seriously.
When I think about the atrocities that have been occurring on a daily basis in our neighborhoods and throughout our world, I shudder at the recognition that it is people just like us who have soured to the goodness of humankind who are acting out these horrific crimes. When I think again, I recognize that in the same way it is people like us -- indeed, it is we who can and must lead by example and bring the light into the dark corners. Through our own efforts to bring goodness into our day, we can inspire others to do the same. Having faith in each other and in the greatness that resides in all of us is part of being a member of a living, breathing, honorable society.
I believe that if we want our world to be safe and prosperous, we must see it through that lens and live with that goal in mind. In the spirit of Christ who lived as a beacon of God's love and vision for humankind, let us walk with dignity and respect. Whether you are Christian or practice any other religion, I invite you to recognize that a core message of this day's celebration is that we should all honor each other -- no matter our station in life. We are all God's children. And we all deserve to be loved. Let us claim love so fiercely that it becomes stronger than the negativity that is challenging us right now. We can do it! Indeed, we must. -- Harriette
(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)