This past weekend I changed over my autumn decorations to my non denominational holiday decor. This usually includes a lot of evergreen garland, a simple wreath, and an artificial forest that gets unboxed and arranged in my studio apartment, complete with artificial pine scent. It's my way of acknowledging the season and creating space for myself which allows for sanctuary while celebrating the holidays. I now realize that the act of decorating brings me joy and having a space to decorate makes me grateful, which happen to be my two core values. Once I began decorating during the holidays it became easier for me to lean into the season. I want to share myself with others after decorating. I want to invite friends over for a warm courtyard fire and share time together. For me, experiencing the holiday energy comes through creating and communing. Once I realized this, a lot changed in how I approach the holiday season.
On Sunday I made a trip down to my local Trader Joes to pick up an obscene amount of garland for my porch. My TJ excursions usually involve a clarifying pep talk with myself about what I do need to get (kale) vs. what I don't need (on this trip it was a hard conversation about Jingle Jangle). As I walked over to the cheese section (my compromise for not buying ALL the things on my "don't need" list), I noticed that the booze section had doubled in size since my last visit two weeks ago. It was a noticeable increase and my first reaction was, "well it is the holidays." And I had to stop and think about that for a minute. Is this less about a cup of holiday cheer and more about a coping mechanism for an entire month?
I remember a time when I thought holiday events could only be navigated with the help of a cup of something. It enabled me to stomach conversations I wanted to avoid, or interactions with people who really took the winter wind right out of my sails. But as I began expanding my research into soft skills, and incorporating these skills in my personal life a strange thing happened. My personal connection with others actually increased. As I leaned into communication, I discovered I was having deeper connections to those around me. When I leaned into adaptability, I realized fewer interactions ruffled my feathers. When I let go of needing to control and opened myself up to include collaborating with others (a lesson for us militant decorators), I discovered more authentic and meaningful experiences.
My shifting into soft skills has been a slow immersion. I was lucky that my artistic passion of puppetry opened the door to these skills, but I really began to benefit once I incorporated them into all areas of my life. I reflected on this as I pushed my cart, filled with garland and cheese (and a box of Jingle Jangle I gifted to a colleague), past the mountain of bourbon and on to the check out. I also noticed that soft skills have changed the way I interact with others. I'm able to make eye contact and smile with strangers, and if you want to feel the holiday spirit- that's a great place to start. I'm able to easily share complements. I'm also able to connect with others and share simple moments.
I'm not knocking the cup of mulled wine, I have some on my stove just to make the house extra cozy. And I still enjoy a good stiff nog or warm cider, I'm just not dependent on them to survive the season. When I made this connection and approached my interactions through the lens of soft skills, I saw a positive result.
We all have our way of managing this season. Some of us bake, some of us buy, some of us decorate... some of us just look forward to time alone again. It really comes down to what works best for each of us. For me, the season became a lot more enjoyable when I focused on connecting with others and finding the magic through simple exchanges and soft skills. All of this is essential in reminding me that the world is filled with kindness, joy and grace. After all... isn't that what the holiday spirit is all about?
Have a safe and happy holiday season. I hope it is filled with all the best soft skills has to offer. Peace, love and joy. KK
If you would like to know how you can strengthen your soft skills, check out All Hands In upcoming workshops in 2020. We'd love to work with you.