For many, the winter holiday season is a time of family gatherings, social events, and great food. Amidst all the preparation and anticipation, it becomes easy to forget that the season also brings unique challenges. Creating conversations that recognize these challenges is a way to build intentional spaces for the collaboration and support that Delt brothers do so well. Through fraternity, we can focus on how to best help one another, be it in spoken or unspoken ways, such as a kind gesture, a thoughtful check-in, or a heart-felt, “until next time!”
Understanding that holidays can be different for everyone, not just across various traditions, but through individual and varying circumstances is a way of showing compassion. The assumption that everyone experiences December similarly, while not ill-intentioned, does create social pressure to celebrate in the “correct” way. Removing that assumption and accepting that there is no single, “correct” way reinforces tolerance and alleviates pressure on everyone. It allows us to reflect and share in our similarities and differences and opens space for supporting each other’s journey.
The concept of celebration is also tied into rest and reflection because all three are a way of expressing gratitude, positivity, and stepping away from the day-to-day rigor of life, school, or work. Through a lens of community, we can completely reframe the holiday season as not just a physical celebration, but an equally important metaphorical celebration of the self that empowers individuals to rest on their own terms. In doing this, it becomes more socially acceptable and accessible for everyone to prioritize their needs and heal however they see fit. It reminds us to be aware and accepting of our differences while remembering to take care of ourselves and others, when possible, to live lives of excellence.
In times of revelry and reunion, certain things sometimes go unnoticed making these reflections well suited for this time of year. it may be challenging to tell when a friend, family member, or even a stranger in the supermarket is processing something difficult. For those having a difficult time taking space and realizing that it is perfectly acceptable to say no to an invitation when in need of a break is a simple, yet great step towards self-actualization. For those not navigating a hardship, it is a perfect time to offer a helping hand and take advantage of the time away from work, school, or other responsibilities to uplift and support others.
Taking a moment to truly understand how someone else may need to handle what could be a chilly December day is not just a kindness; it’s growth. At the same time, intentionally acknowledging your own needs is a practice of personal care that translates directly to being a more empathetic friend, family member, coworker, or classmate.
As brothers, we can rejoice in both our individuality and our connectedness to one another. We can celebrate the positives, be thankful for opportunities to grow, and lend goodwill to others—especially those who have so often helped us in both the great and challenging times. Together, living the values of Delta Tau Delta, we find meaning.
In case you missed the other two segments of this series, check out: Rest and Reflection and The Internet Never Sleeps, But You Should.
Featured Photo: Caption Reads: Beta Eta Chapter at the University of Minnesota