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Celebrate and Honor Others
by Dr. Dale V. Atkins, May 2006

It's the Season for Celebrations
May and June are the months of many celebrations: weddings, graduations, christenings, confirmations, showers, Motherís Day and Fatherís Day. For many of us leading busy lives, these joyous events can be difficult to schedule and become tedious to attend. If family or friendsí relationships are strained, attending one of these events can be even more challenging. How can we honestly be there for others when we have so much going on in our own lives? And how can we honor others when there may be issues between us and with some of the other "players" that add to the perceived friction?

"Being There"
When you are there for others, it means you care and value your relationship with that person. Making the effort to attend functions and events important to a family member, friend or colleague acknowledges your ongoing relationship and the respect you feel for them. But, if youíre there in body only and not in spirit are you really supporting that person and sending an encouraging and loving message?

Maybe It's Time to Reevaluate
If you hear yourself say, "I wish I didnít have to go" or "I donít have time for this," maybe itís time to re- evaluate your relationship with the person being honored. It may be that you need to do a bit of soul searching, considering what is the best way you can attend, while staying centered and true to yourself. You may need to establish limits on what will be enough and what will be beyond the call of duty. An important consideration as you evaluate the relationship is how much of YOU are you prepared to give?

Do I Want to "Be There"
Ask yourself in what ways are these people important to you, are they worth the energy, and can you share in their enthusiasm (which is often a life passage)? Establish in your own mind and heart what is your place in their life and what is their place in your life (they are often not the same). If you are comfortable with any disparity then you should attend without any preconceived notions or expectations.

Your "Being There" Will Be Felt
Before going, you can increase your energy and really "be there" for that person. They will feel this gift emanating from you. If you cannot do this, maybe you should consider whether this relationship is worth holding on to. When people know you sincerely care, your heart felt warmth is felt and they will be able to receive the message that they are important and have value in your life. With your more challenging relationships, when you reach out and make an effort to be fully present at their life milestones, you will gain from the experience even if it is difficult for them to acknowledge or express gratitude.

Here are Sanity Savers to help you feel more festive when your next invitation arrives:

ē Stay focused - If youíre at a party, youíre already there. Why stay and have a mediocre time when you can put parameters on the situation, stay in that space and make the best of it? You have the ability to have a good time or not. As the old saying goes "Make the best of the situation." Talk to people, let your hair down a bit, donít expect to be taken care of by anyone else and you just might have fun dancing the night away.

ē View it as a mission - We attend otherís functions to celebrate with them. Of course, you have other things to do. Everyone does. In fact, each person at the function could be catching up on so many things instead of being there. Donít forget the reason youíre present. Your mission is to support, love and share special moments with the person who is being honored. Stay true to that mission and you will likely have a good time.

ē Release negative feelings beforehand - If Motherís Day isnít easy for you, allow yourself to feel the sadness, disappointment and anger over your relationship before getting together with your mother. Maybe you can journal or have a conversation with the mirror to release negative tension. Also, try and think back on some endearing memories. Remember, this is her "day" and you can show your mom you really do truly care by respecting her and sharing in the moment. You are not likely to repair a lifetime of hurt at one meeting but you may be able to experience this day differently.

ē Go with support or go alone - Donít go to an event that you already have misgivings about with someone who will make you feel even more uncomfortable. If the person you are with tends to complain or doesnít want to be there, this will only disengage you further and you will likely be concerned about whether they are okay. That is unnecessary and frankly, too much pressure. Be with someone with whom you feel comfortable or go alone.

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