In case you haven’t noticed before, I believe we can find positive life lessons just about anywhere if we are looking for them. With Christmas and other holidays fast approaching, it occurred to me that Santa has some SMART wisdom to offer us if we are paying attention.
Here are eight positive perspectives Santa offers us all:
- Santa challenges us to be our best self all year long. While some might believe that Santa is a bit harsh by asking us to be good all year long, I tend to think he reminds us that making the effort to share kindness, compassion and generosity always leads to a happier life. Plus, karma or reciprocity teaches us that what we give out comes back to us maximized. The more we share the best of ourselves with others, the more likely good is to flow through and into our lives. As Henry David Thoreau said, “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
- Santa doesn’t care how much you weigh, the color of your skin, where you live, or how much money you have. The story is familiar to most of us. Santa loads up his sled with presents for boys and girls around the world every Christmas Eve. While he does have an opinion about whether we’ve been “bad or good” I’ve never heard of him judging a child by the color of his or her skin, weight, or how much money his family has. I’ve also never seen him avoid children from other cultures or religions. Santa gives to all. In Santa’s eyes, we are all worthy of love and good tidings. Santa knows, just like Ralph Waldo Emerson, that, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
- Santa teaches us to know what we want, and then ask for it! Most of the time Santa seems to insist that we think about what it is we really want. Even better, he also seems to know the real truth behind the asking. Do we? Do we really know what will make us happy? Some people seem to believe that having the latest and greatest gadget or the most sparkling bling are the keys to happiness. But Santa knows that what most of us really, really want is deep connections with others, laughter and fun with friends and family, and purpose and meaning in life. Still, although he seems to know what we really want and need, we must ask for it. As Nancy D. Solomon said, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
- Santa makes his gifts, and never spends money he doesn’t have to buy them. Unfortunately, far too many people in the U.S. go into debt to buy presents for each other every Christmas. Santa never does that. Santa realizes that the most important thing about a gift is the love and feeling behind it, not the price tag. He also knows that the best gifts are those that address the needs and dreams behind the wishing. As Kahlil Gibran said in his book The Prophet, “You give but a little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
- Santa knows how to laugh and makes it a regular part of his day. One of Santa’s greatest gifts is his ability to laugh. I’ll bet that Santa knows that laughter triggers the release of endorphins and helps to promote an ongoing sense of well-being and good will. Plus, his constant “ho, ho, ho!” decreases stress and keeps his body healthy and happy. Surely his job is as stressful as anyone’s but he continues to laugh and be jolly. As Mark Twain said, “[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
- Santa surrounds himself with friends who love and support him. Can’t you just see Santa surrounded by Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer all happily working toward a powerful goal? Santa knows that feeling socially isolated can be as toxic to healthy bodies and brains as smoking. He also knows that collaborating with others helps us take a huge and sometimes insurmountable job, and turn it into something we can accomplish. As Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said, “The power of one, if fearless and focused is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.”
- Santa loves his work and doesn’t do it for the money. Santa is a great example of someone who follows his bliss. Clearly he is not in it for the money. While I’m sure he has challenges in his work as we all do, he stays so focused on the outcome that his joy never diminishes. As Steve Job said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
- Santa stands for hope and possibility. A belief in possibility and hope is universal. Even though we know Santa is not real, he serves to remind us all that hope gives everyone the courage to keep reaching for a good and a brighter tomorrow. As author Martha Beck says, “Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.” Why not let Santa be that something?
Of course, it is possible that some of you are remembering other things about Santa. Lines from the song, “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for heaven’s sake!” just might trigger feelings of guilt or shame. How positive is that? Or what about challenging the religious, or not so religious experience of Santa, and what he represents?
Once again Santa provides a SMART lesson. That’s because just about every person we meet and every circumstance we face, can be seen from a variety of perspectives. How we choose to view Santa is no different. SMART Living 365 reminds us that every single day we get to decide what we will focus on and ultimately take from every experience we encounter. We can focus on the less than positive with fear and worry guiding us. Or we can take the high road and see the good. What do you plan to see this December? Remember, it’s all up to you.
Flickr Photo Credit
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