Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.
We all know someone who we would classify as a grinch this time of year. Hell, mine is my daughter right now, but I suspect her grinchy attitude might last longer than this holiday season (welcome pre-teen years!). It’s even more likely that the grinch you know spends a lot of the year in “Ba humbug” mode. This person might be a relative, a friend, a coworker, or even a frequent customer or patient (in my case). There was a time when I most certainly was a grinch. You may not have seen it on the outside but on the inside I was bleeding grinch green!
I have put a great deal of effort in keeping my tight circle free of bad attitudes and negativity, but at the same time I see the grinches and have a great deal of empathy for them. I just want to hug them and say, “whatever it is, it will be alright.” When people around us are judgmental, rude, and pissed off, they likely have a reason to be. I know, I know, there are people who live day in and day out like this and the holidays are just a reason to ramp up the anti-cheer. But I would be willing to bet they were either – one, not taught a better way, or two, had a trauma in their life so damaging that they can’t find a way out of their dark mountain top cave.
Some people grew up abused or neglected. Some have been bullied. Some people were taught negative attention was the only attention they would get. Some have lost their jobs. Some are depressed. Some have lost a loved one over the holidays. Some have lost a loved one period. Some feel worthless. Some have no hope. Some have chronic illness. Some people don’t feel loved. Some have never been given a chance. Some are in pain. Some people use victimhood as justification. Some have never been taught life is a gift.
These are not excuses. These are reasons. And some of us can overcome these things and even thrive. And for that we should be grateful, and instead of allowing the grinches to ruin our day, we should use our resilience to smile and try to uplift theirs. Two women who I admire very much, Mel Robbins and Brene Brown, have both said, “always assume good intent” from people. In other words, people are trying their best and it’s our job to see it that way.
When you assume people have good intentions instead of bad, you are the one that benefits. Focusing on someone’s purposeful ill-will only brings you to a place of frustration and hurt. If instead though, you think to yourself, “they are doing the best with what they have,” you can feel gratitude for your own joy and maybe even spread a little along the way.
I challenge us all this season to be forgiving and kind. To focus on good intent and not bad. To be grateful. And to spread cheer even to those who appear not to want it. They need it the most. And you never know who you may impact, even the Grinch saw the meaning of Christmas in the end.