The holidays are here and for many of us, they represent a challenging time. It’s easy to be our best when we’re surrounded by people who think like we do and share our values. But the true measure of our emotional health and dignity is tested when we share our time with those who live differently than we do.

So, to ensure that you have a great holiday season, I recommend taking a moment of mindfulness before you attend each of your holiday gatherings. Remind yourself of the purpose of the event. Most people are invited to gatherings because they love each other as family or friends or work together toward a common goal (office party). When you focus on the reasons for attending… to honor the season, to wish each other well and to remember the good in the world, it gets easier to let negative things go as they come up in conversations.

Age old wisdom is to avoid hot topics such as religion, politics, parenting differences and our values. But when someone else brings up any of these topics, it’s important that you listen to their views and opinions in the same way you would want others to hear you… with acceptance, tolerance, and respect for what you think and believe. You need to give what you wish to receive. So I recommend offering that gift to others, even if you don’t agree with their point of view.

Learning to co-exist positively with others who don’t align with your perspective is perhaps one of the best measures of how loving, kind and compassionate you are as an individual. So don’t wait for someone else to make the world a better place. BE the person to do just that with your open mind and your open heart.

With love this holiday season,