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By Remy Benoit

   What does it mean to show respect?

   It means basically to treat each human being as a part of the Creation that we find all around us.
   It means to show courtesy.
   It means to show tolerance, not condescion, to other peoples' rituals, traditions, and beliefs.
   It means to show compassion to others as well as to yourself.
   The holiday season is a difficult time of the year. As we have seen, you may feel overwhelmed; you may also feel abandoned.

   If you are of the latter group, and there are times when many of us have faced an important day alone, it is good to make the effort to do something for yourself.

   It does not have to be an extravagant thing. It can be as simple as watching a favorite movie with a big bowl of popcorn, or taking what I call a Christmas Light Walk around the neighborhood just to enjoy the lights and other decorations.

   Creat a Christmas ritual that ushers in the season for you. One of mine is reading Dylan Thomas', A Child's Christmas in Wales.  If you don't know it, you are in for a treat.
A Child's Christmas in Wales.

   Show respect for yourself by not giving into the lonesome fussies and the recriminations that "they" are all a bunch of, well, you get the idea.

   Stop into a house of worship - it doesn't have to be your own. Raise your voice in song; take in the glory of the poinsettias, the evergreens, the community.

   If being alone is not your problem, learn what conversation topics are not going to work at the table. You have probably been with the same group of people long enough to what their triggers are. Simply choose not to push them. Turning the Christmas table into a caterwalling of what you already know what each of them thinks on topics x, y, and z, is destructive of the peace, and indeed, the meaning of the season. Instead, compliment the cook, or cooks; string popcorn with the little ones; take a walk around the block. Sing carols; take food to a shut-in.
   If all else fails, slip away for a twenty minute nap and start again feeling refreshed.

   No matter what you situation, show yourself and others respect by not blowing your cool, slipping into a sea of despair, of just general ennui.

   As always, the choice is yours.

Visit with the Foundation for a Better Life For a Better Life.

In the UK, visit with the inter-faith group, TimeBank.


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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