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Looking Forward

Are you glad to see the election over or for that matter 2016 behind us?  We’re all exhausted from the year of negativity, cynicism, and blaming.  We’ve been splintered and torn apart by our views, opinions, and perceptions, but we need to figure out a way to reduce the chasm and intense polarization.  What will it take to bring the country back together and find unity? Maybe by listening more, talking less, and finding common goals we can work towards compromise and resolution.  Our country first needs to heal, let go of the anger and fear, and take action to positively impact family, community, and our own sphere of influence.  We need to figure out a way to build back trust and confidence in our leaders and our democratic system.  Although these seem like insurmountable tasks, we can affect change by focusing on one person at a time.

The greatest gifts we can give to others are compassion, grace, and acceptance, starting with our most influential group which is family.  If we want to move forward we first need to let go of emotional pain from the past and choose to forgive instead of allowing our disagreements to fester.  In our efforts to look forward we can focus on how to encourage, motivate, and respect our family members through our words and actions.  We can be intentional by setting aside time to care for, connect, and communicate with our loved ones without the distraction of technology.  Offering to help before being asked expresses emotional maturity and selflessness.  Finally, appreciate different perspectives, manage conflicts constructively, and build trust through consistency in words and actions.

Leadership in our community can happen through a church, civic organization, volunteer work, and/or local club.  While serving others we demonstrate our humility and desire to positively impact others’ lives.  Our society as a whole needs to shift from self-interest and self-absorption to consideration for the needs of others and learning to be sacrificial at times.  Instead of having the “what’s in it for me” mindset we might shift to “how can I help others” mentality.  Something as simple as complimenting a person or acknowledging a positive behavior can make a huge difference in a person’s day, week, maybe life.  Try smiling and engaging more with people and asking them about themselves.  When we acknowledge people and validate their feelings a greater connection is made.  Make a difference in 2017 in your family, community or both.  Look forward by recognizing and appreciating those around you.

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