Categorized | Culture & Society, Holidays

The Holiday’s: Gratitude, Acceptance and Giving

It’s that time of year again and many of my clients are already anticipating the pressure and emotional turmoil that each of our families can bring to the holiday table.

One of my clients in a group session yesterday was feeling sad as her mother passed away in the fall and her siblings, rather than maintaining the tradition of all being together during the holidays, have become splintered and are celebrating apart from each other. The family is in mourning and as a result much negativity has taken the place of the closeness they formerly had with each other. Misunderstandings have lead to squabbling over their mother’s possessions, her furniture, shares of the family home etcetera have caused friction, and loss of what had previously kept them together.


How to keep family together when figureheads are deceased.

Some members of our group asked what they should do as families dwindle and our figureheads are no longer here to keep everyone together. “How can such a negative occurrence near the holidays be turned around?”  My answer was a simple one; if we abandon resentment and anger our hearts will open, and the soft part of us, that place where serenity lies will emerge. This softness within guides us to appreciate what we have been given in the past, and what we have been fortunate enough to experience in the present. When we touch our inner goodness we are in contact with the best part of ourselves. We are then in a position to become more understanding of others, and we are more likely to take the higher road, making less of others imperfections and more of their humanness, the frailties that we all have in common. Our vulnerabilities, when not understood, can lead to misperceptions of others intentions, and ultimately this causes us to withdraw from relationships.  When we chose openness rather than bitterness, we experience feelings of gratefulness for the existence of family, friends and all that we have been given through the grace of life. We have been blessed with life and family, not because we have earned either, we have been given a gift, the gift to love and forgive. When we make the choice to love we become alive again, and negativity fades into the past.


Keeping the magic alive

As we age the holidays can still maintain their magic but they also consist of many memories we wish we could re-enact. We all lose people and dreams along the way. Maybe we are not living the life we fantasized about, or maybe some are alone and wondering if they will ever have that magical Christmas or joyous Hanukah with a special someone. Maybe we never became the person or lived the lifestyle we romanticized, or maybe we, like all other human beings, are forced to cope with the realities of an ever-changing life. Our dreams have been disrupted and the holiday season and our lives are not quite what we visualized.

As we contemplate the loss of loved ones and the pain of lost dreams we can let go and become immersed in our present lives if we allow ourselves to feel the depth of emotion the holidays produce. Take time to feel the sadness of all you have lost, and use your sadness to touch the softness within. This tender, gentle part of us connects us to the humanness in others; our hostile side connects us to destructive thoughts and behavior.  You will be more able to participate, appreciate and accept yourself and the people around you if you do so.

You can’t accept the limitations of others if you can’t accept your own shortcomings. Give up stubbornness and try to be understanding of yourself, and then take the courageous step of reaching out to those you know in your heart you care about but have neglected. Regardless of how others respond relate with dignity, honesty and compassionate understanding. If you do so the holidays will likely fill you with gratitude and the acceptance of life as it is.


Don’t let this chance to express your love pass you by.

The best way to be fulfilled during this season is to give to others. Write something personal in every card you give to those close to you. Take a chance and go beyond your normal way of expressing, touch deeply within and let those close to you know how much they mean, and how grateful you are to have them in your life. You would be surprised how many people keep the cards that have been given to them with unique expressions from those they care about the most. Lose your self consciousness and express yourself fully, remember life is time limited, we have a chance to give to those we love this season, don’t assume there will be other chances, now is the time to express more completely than you every have before, make these holidays the time you revealed all the love that is within you. Those close to you will never forget your words, your heart felt written and spoken words will last far longer than any material gift ever will.

If you liked this post, please let Dr. Arthur know by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. To help your friends and family cope with holiday pressures, you can Tweet or Google+1 today’s article to let them know about it. Happy Holidays. Dr. Arthur P. Ciaramicoli


About Arthur Ciaramicoli

Dr. Ciaramicoli is a Clinical Psychologist with 35 years of practice, research, and publishing in the areas of human development and performance. He is author of the books Author of The Curse of the Capable, Performance Addiction, The Power of Empathy, and Treatment of Abuse and Addiction:A Holistic Approach. Also, in collaboration with, Dr. Ciaramicoli has developed several internet-based therapy programs for treating mental health conditions that includes an Anxiety Therapy Program and a program for Managing the Stress of Success. These programs are specifically designed to take advantage of the latest Internet technologies available to help people to manage and control their symptoms and to effectively cope with stressful situations. They include an online workbook, videos, a daily journal, a mobile app and supporting content to help people to access the best therapeutic practices for managing mental health. Presently, he is Chief Medical Director of; an innovative company that provides people with the latest in online and mobile on-demand mental health services that includes mental health diagnostic tools and self-administered screening tests, online treatment programs and self-help tools including online videos and workbooks, progress trackers to evaluate mental health symptoms, moods and activities, an extensive online database including over 50,000 Therapists worldwide complete with user reviews and rankings to help you find the very Best Therapists and Doctors, internet-based therapy services, and an extensive Mental Health Medications database, that includes ratings of the various drugs. To find out more about Dr. Ciaramicoli's work and professional background, please go to his professional website ( or his author page at Also, he regularly authors articles for under their mental health blog section (

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