Hey you,

It’s now almost the holiday time and people usually have mixed feeling about these holidays. Those with nice families or someone special to spend the holidays with are excited and looking forward to the special time together. Those for whom the holidays with family brought more drama than positivity, however, may have the opposite experience and may dread this holiday season almost as much as Scrooge once loathed it. I love watching my kids as the buildup to Christmas happens, each day excitedly opening up their Advent Calendars. There’s Chanukah too of course and eight days of celebration to look forward to and enjoy.
I believe that love and relationships is what  ultimately defines our quality of life. This includes any special relationship: be it with that someone special, family, friends, even coworkers. And for happy and meaningful life we need relationships filled with genuine, honest and sometimes embarrassingly open connection. So it doesn’t matter what our previous experiences have been; what matters are the relationships that we create in the present and the future.
Last week, I attended a funeral, an occasion so sad that no words can really describe it… I was saddened for the family, for the friends, the wife and child left behind… This experience really took me to a reflective place, elevating my sense of gratitude for everything that I have and the wonderful connections that I’ve made up to now. Tragic moments like these, have great invisible power to awaken us to the relationships we have in our life in the same way that this holiday season helps us see where the holes or bricks stand.
It’s times like these when we remember all the dear friends and family members we could have paid more attention to and who we let slip out of our lives because other things just got in the way. I also felt infinitely grateful for everyone with whom I shared great memories filled with connection. Unfortunately human nature means sometimes only realising what we had once it’s gone. There is only one thing we can do to remedy this: from time to time take the attention  away from our self-involved lives and spend more of it connecting with people around. This holiday season is an ideal opportunity for us to practice this.
So whichever of the two camps you sit in when it comes to the holidays — whether you dread them or you love and look forward to them — this is your opportunity to really open yourself up to connect with either someone special or with someone new who could become special, to connect with family and to reach out to friends and even improve that friendship.
Let’s allow these annual holidays and these festivities to remind us just how many connections we already have and just how special they are! Let us remember just how blessed we are even to be able to choose whether or not to celebrate when there are so many out there living in other parts of the world who even don’t have this choice to make.
I have a piece of advice for both camps, because I find that no matter whether you love the holidays or dread them there is always room for improvement (especially for those who find it stressful during this time). The very simple secret in improving your festivity experience lies in connecting fully to those around you.
I find that the combination of the following 3 things can work as the baby steps towards more positive and fulfilling connections.
1. Bring your best foot forward and be mentally and physically ready for Connection. This will take some perseverance, however, it is proven that any success one achieves, first and foremost comes from the desire to achieve it. If you truly see the necessity to connect to someone just be ready for it mentally. It means, yes that you might have to be more attentive and more tactile than you’re used to, but sometimes it’s precisely that getting out of our own comfort zone that makes the biggest difference.
2. Be brave and take advantage of opportunities. The most fun I usually end up having when at first I really didn’t feel like going somewhere. We have a tendency to presuppose how an event will unravel, predicting that we will or won’t enjoy like it. E.g. “aaah I know, I have to smalltalk to all these boring people I do not really find interesting “ or “aaah I just get so shy with these people”, or “I feel rather depressed, not in the to talk to anyone; its better for everyone if I just don’t go”. We presuppose, without giving the situation a chance, that it won’t be good and we talk ourselves out of even trying it. This means that if we do go, instead of coming with our best foot forward we sabotage ourselves even before we arrive. What you can do instead is the opposite. Instead of creating a negative outcome for the situation to come, we can create a positive one. Say yes to an invite (a party) and spend time imagining how great the party will be and how many wonderful people we’re likely to meet there. Then arrive with anticipation always looking for the positive that we seek.
3. Open up to people and be interested in them. Its people after all who create our word and who make it a better or worse place. The more interest you show in people, the more interesting things you’ll learn from them. If you are the kind of person who really stresses about social events and interactions, try to spend less time thinking of how others are reacting to you and instead spend time getting to know others by demonstrating genuine interest in them and asking questions that encourage them to open up about themselves. It may help to bring a friend on a similar mission so that you have someone to help you remain brave with you.
And if you feel like nobody wants to talk to you, just get over yourself and try chatting to any one person who looks friendly enough or alone enough to approach. That conversation will make you brave and will pave the way for another and another. Trust me, I’ve gone to many parties and events on my own where I know absolutely no one and these are often the ones where I met the most or the best people.
There is probably quite a lot more that I can say on the subject, but I’ll leave it for another time. Tune in for my Connection Series on my Facebook page @coachjuliakeller for many more tips on connecting and of course to my blog for upcoming videos on connecting over the holidays. My online series “Attract Authentic Love” also has a whole process teaching you how to connect and is now on the Christmas special so you can purchase it for less. And if you have more questions you can always book a free call with me here or contact us on any of our social media below.

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