One of my favorite words in the English language is Merry.
Which is not to be confused with the two other words that sound exactly the same with my Midwestern accent, “marry” and “Mary."
These days, people almost unilaterally associate the word Merry with Christmas, but I think that word is mighty enough to stand on its own. It’s high time it did.
The definition of Merry is "cheerful and lively," which in turn mean “noticeably happy and optimistic” and “full of life and energy.” If you think about it, isn’t that really what you most want in your life? To be happy and alive? Isn’t that the holy grail we are all chasing?
We are all on a mission to be Merry.
And so today, as the holidays kick off in full splendor, I want to give you some tips about how to pour yourself a glass of Merry, dab a bit of Merry behind your ears, and bring a package of Merry with you everywhere you go.
Be Merry about yourself
If you are like most of my clients, you are quite talented at finding your faults and criticizing yourself for not having lived up to some image of perfection in your head.
I am no exception to this. For example, as I drove home after leading a highly-acclaimed seminar for the executive team of a notable Silicon Valley company last month, was I Merrily basking in the glow of a job well done? Was I Merrily celebrating the privilege of working with such a fantastic group of people? Was I Merrily proud of having made a difference? A little bit. But, truthfully, my mind was far more focused on the one small un-Merry part of the workshop where I struggled, and analyzing just how I had fallen short.
Can you relate?
The truth, folks, is that you have many amazing talents and gifts, which I call superpowers, that come as naturally to you as breathing. You do them all the time and aren’t even aware of them. Those times when you handle your kid’s meltdown with ease, or when you come up with a creative solution at work, or when you manage to structure your entire family’s holiday plans. That is you doing your magic dance.
So to be Merry about yourself, folks, you have to tell the truth about just how neat you really are. You need to own up to your superpowers, and watch them in action. Don’t know your superpowers? Ask your friends and family. They know ‘em. And soon you’ll start to see that you use those puppies every single day. It’s pretty darn awesome to see.
Be Merry about your year
If you haven’t yet, please take my 2015 Celebration inventory. I promise you, it will be the best gift you could give yourself this holiday season. The truth is that you just spent about 42 million heartbeats living your 2015, and even if you didn’t achieve some of your big goals, you still built something pretty darn beautiful with it. This inventory gives you a chance to sift through your year and be Merry about the many juicy morsels in there.
Be Merry about this moment
Here’s a great game to play. Pause right now, and ask yourself “what, in this very moment, is wrong?” The truth is, even if you just got laid off from your job and your home is about to be foreclosed and your child is sick with a terrible flu, in this exact moment, 8:42:15pm EST, nothing is actually wrong. You are alive. You are fed. You are warm. You are surrounded by people you care about. What is wrong right now? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What about 8:42:16pm? Same thing.
Sure, there are a few really terrible moments in life. But odds are, right now is not one of them. And there is a lot of Merriment to be had in the current moment.
Be Merry about your body
Let me tell you, folks. After studying biology for 10 years, I am left with one thing: it is a pure miracle that our bodies work as well as they do. We cut them and they heal. We poison them and they clean themselves. We neglect them and they still schlep us around wherever we want to go. No matter how overweight or tired or old or ugly you feel, there is simply no denying that you get to live in the best piece of machinery around.
So, this holiday season, give this wonderful body of yours a bit of extra loving. Fuel it with clean water, nutritious fuel, and good rest. And if you must have a few sloppy evenings, thank your body the next day with electrolytes and a nice run.
You body is the best gift your parents ever gave you, and it’s something to be truly Merry about.
Be Merry about your family and friends
The holidays can be the most harmonious of times, and also the most discordant of times. In each interaction with a member of your family or friends, you can choose to see and celebrate their superpowers, or bemoan their weaknesses. Just like you do yourself. Check out my Thanksgiving blog on how to choose to be Merry about your loved ones.
Which of these very Merry tactics will you use during your holidays? I challenge you: make it your mission to not only bring the plate of cheese balls and dip to your holiday parties, but to also be a force of Merriment. It is positively contagious, and the best game in town.
You have so many opportunities to be Merry. Seize them today!