133 – Being A Man During The Holidays

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Well, it’s the start of another week.  For some people thats a great thing…and for other people, not so much unfortunately, but…then here come the holidays.

We just got through Thanksgiving here in America, but now pretty much the whole world is head for the holiday season of Christmas and New years.  We have to get through all that before we get to 2017. 

You know I loved the holiday season when I was a kid, my mom always made it so fun for us.  But ever since I grew up…more and more most of the holiday’s really just kind of annoy me.

I’m not alone either.  It’s kind of crazy, but at a time when people are supposed to be filled with love and happiness and joy, a lot of people are really sad, and miserable.  The weather is usually crappy, the days are short.  The financial and personal problems people have always seem bigger when there is a holiday to deal with.

A lot of people think that suicide rates and depression go up around the holiday’s…I believed that until I researched it and found out it wasn’t true.  It turns out suicide and depression are more prevalent during the spring and summer months, into the fall.

That doesn’t change the fact though, that a lot of people have a really hard time around the holiday’s, and we as men should be prepared for that so we can make it better on the people that we can influence.

The reason I get annoyed by the holidays myself is mainly because of the mass commercialization of it.  It makes me angry.  I don’t like the fact that the corporate world has completely taken over, they tell us when to spend our money and what to spend it on, and for who.

I see people go into full on panic mode, spending money they really don’t have in order to buy something that someone else doesn’t really need.  Everybody is worried about what to get for who, and I think it really cast an ugly net over the whole thing.

I really don’t buy gifts for the holiday’s anymore.  Pretty much, I stopped doing it a few years back, I think partly because I have such an aversion to being told what to do.  I felt like I was being told I HAD to buy everybody something and I didn’t like that, so I stopped.  You might think I would have experienced some negativity around that from my family but surprisingly…I haven’t. 

I think this is why;  there is something that I do love about the entire holiday season, and that is the experience of family.  Just being together and playing board games, eating great food and telling stories.  To me that is what the holiday season is all about, and I focus on that aspect of it, and no one seems to miss the gifts.

So how can we help, during the holidays, as men?  Well, It is not always native for us men to think about what other people are going through is it?  That’s something I’m still improving on as I go through my life.  If people tell me they are upset I can be very attentive, I want to help people…but if they don’t mention it, or say they are fine when they are not, then I just assume that’s how it is.

So our challenge as men in this upcoming holiday season.  Not just as men, but as men who want to be better men, is to make a special effort to anticipate the needs, pains, and desires of the people around us that we care about.

It might sound easy, but it isn’t for most guys.  It’s something we need to focus on daily if we are going to have an impact.

A lot of times it won’t require more than listening to someones problem and letting them know you care.  Other times you might have to get more creative.  A lot of people are sad around the holidays because they are separated from their family…thats an easy one, invite them home for dinner and make them part of your celebration. 

One year my daughter was very upset because she couldn’t afford to buy presents for everyone for the holidays.  I could have gave her money…but instead I helped her write personal poems for every member of the family.  In doing that, her and I got to spend time together, and she got to give everyone a very special, personal gift.  Thats what I mean by getting creative.

So that is our first challenge guys; to make the effort to anticipate and satisfy the needs and pains of the people we care about.  For some of us, there will be an additional challenge as well.

A lot of you guys out there might not be in the best spot yourself this year.  You might be sad, away from your families, or out of a job.  You might have lost a loved one recently or who knows?  There are a million reasons why people are not in tip top emotional shape.  So if you are one of those people…how are you supposed to be the anchor for everyone else?

OK, this might sound a little radical…but here it goes, listen carefully;  the sheer act of being a better man today than you were yesterday will help immensely in correcting the things that are troubling you. 

What I mean is, that my reaching out to other people, sharing your strength with them, putting the needs of others ahead of your own,  basically…being a true man, will bring joy to those around you and to you as well.  It’s really difficult to feel sorry for your self if you are actively engaged and interested in the lives of those around you.  By being a man and helping others, you will ultimately be helping yourself, and that will make the holidays better.

Some of you might be skeptical about this.  It might feel counter-intuitive to put your needs aside and tend to others first.  But, until you try it you cannot say it doesn’t work. 

So that is what I’m challenging all of you listeners with, and myself for this upcoming holiday season.  Regardless of where you are at, the task is basically the same;  be a man, care for those around you, share your strength with others and generate your own joy.

Then after the holidays are over…you might just want to keep on doing it.  The same principles apply all year around, in every country, in every culture.  It’s the best part of being a man.

That’s it for today guys, now head out into the world and look for ways to help.  Look for ways to share your strength and be a man.  Not just a man…but a better man today than you were yesterday.

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