The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It’s been called the most wonderful time of the year — the holiday season. In the United States, it begins with Thanksgiving and extends through New Year’s Day.

Thanksgiving, a uniquely American tradition, celebrates the pilgrim’s gratitude for survival, emigration to this continent and appreciation for the help of the Indians who lived here.

Christmas has come to mean many different things, depending on your faith, religion, culture or country. It represents a time of celebration, tradition, gift giving, and gathering with family and friends, and of reflection. We turn our attention to the quality of our personal lives and away from more worldly things — we acknowledge gratitude for our blessings and connect with our desire for a more peaceful world.

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People throughout the world, regardless of their religion, recognize this time of year by observing a variety of traditions, music and meals. Decorated Christmas trees, Santa Claus, elves and reindeer, presents, special meals, decorations (lights, candy canes, Poinsettias, snow & snowmen, candles, bells, wreaths) can be found throughout many countries.

For Christians, this season is about the birth of Jesus Christ, a baby who came to be with us and who changed the world in profound ways. The words of Handel’s beautiful Messiah celebrate his name: Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The holidays are generally a time of connecting, slowing down, and longing for peace in a world that is often fractured and tense. While it is true that much about this season has become commercialized, our desire for connection is in stark contrast to the frenzy of daily life. We long for a simpler existence and meaningful relationships with family and friends.

Each New Year inspires wishes and dreams for new beginnings. For the opportunity of fresh starts, for renewal. For me, the entire season inspires self-reflection, gratitude and appreciation for family and friends.

Whatever your personal beliefs, I wish you blessings, peace and grace during this season of celebration and reflection — what I believe truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth

Esther C. Bleuel
MF, MFT, MDR
President and Founder
Esther is dedicated to empowering leaders and teams to improve the quality of their work and interpersonal relationships through the mastery of conversational skills. Contact Esther today for assistance with your tough conversations.

Introversion Comes Out Of The Closet

Since author Susan Cain published her groundbreaking book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” there has been an abundance of information about introverts and introversion. What it means. How it is different from extroversion. And, lists of many famous people who are known to be introverted.

One thing that has emerged — something I had not really thought about before — is the long-standing negative connotation of the word “introvert.” I think about the great number of people who carried the “stigma” of that label and how important it is for all of us to shift that perception.

I decided to do a bit of research about what it means to be introverted and to dispel the all-too-frequent misunderstandings about introverts. By the way, some of the famous introverts include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Adele, and Salvador Dali. Clearly achievement is not necessarily related to personality and/or temperament. So, here are a few thoughts.

  • One of the most common misconceptions is that shyness and introversion are the same thing. According to Cain, shyness is the fear of negative judgment and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. Even an extrovert can be shy.
  • The classic distinction between introverts and extroverts is that introverts recharge their batteries by being alone, while extroverts recharge them in company — often, a lot of company. Many introverts have great social skills, but they still feel depleted by too much socializing.
  • Quiet, thoughtful and occasionally skeptical people, introverts can appear to not like people. However, most introverts can be quite social. They are often quietly content when alone and value calmness, serenity and enjoy being with people in smaller doses than do extroverts.
  • Introverts really do like to talk, but prefer to think before speaking and to listen closely to what is being said before contributing. If too many people are present, introverts will sometimes have a hard time entering the conversation and will decide to remain silent. This sometimes happens to a friend of mine at professional meetings. To be “heard” she will often write a report about her thoughts and suggestions after the meeting and distribute it to participants.
  • Quietness does not equal stupidity, just as loudness does not equal intelligence. If folks really pay attention, they would realize that introverts often have a great deal of useful knowledge and information to contribute.
  • Although introverts can work in groups, they often do their best work alone. While they will sometimes shut down in larger groups of people when they feel their voice isn’t being heard, introverts do excel in small group situations.
  • Introversion is not an affliction or something that can be “cured.” It is an inborn deeply embedded personality temperament, mostly determined by genetics.
  • Introverts are thought to be poor public speakers; however, while some may not like speaking in large group settings, many introverts are naturally gifted speakers. They also generally spend more time preparing for speeches and presentations rather than “flying by the seat of their pants.”
  • Although not necessarily comfortable in crowded spaces, introverts love experiencing new places, people, and things.
  • Most often introverts function on a much more even keel than extroverts and are able to acknowledge multiple perspectives objectively, even during times of stress.
  • Because they are good listeners and don’t complete with extroverts, introverts can be quiet but confident leaders.
  • And for those who might think that extroverts are happier than introverts, personality type does not pre-dispose you to be either happy or unhappy.

The good news is that now, introversion is “out of the closet.” Business leaders, educators, scientists, and others are, indeed, rethinking the workplace environment, the classroom, how we brainstorm, and how include quiet children, to name just a few shifts in the changing landscape. No matter how quiet or reserved introverts might be, their voices are now more understood, acknowledged and clear.

Esther C. Bleuel
MF, MFT, MDR
President and Founder
Esther is dedicated to empowering leaders and teams to improve the quality of their work and interpersonal relationships through the mastery of conversational skills. Contact Esther today for assistance with your tough conversations.

How To Spot A Judgmental Jerk

How To Spot A Judgmental Jerk 

The expression of critical, condemning or disparaging opinions of other’s viewpoints (being judgmental) should not be confused with stating a principled and informed position on an issue (a judgment).

Making a judgment implies that the evidence on both sides of an issue has been made in order to compare the merits of each, and to decide where the truth lies. [Read more…]

Esther C. Bleuel
MF, MFT, MDR
President and Founder
Esther is dedicated to empowering leaders and teams to improve the quality of their work and interpersonal relationships through the mastery of conversational skills. Contact Esther today for assistance with your tough conversations.

Talks At The End Of Life (Conversations No One Wants To Have)

 

Talks At The End Of Life (Conversations No One Wants To Have)

Someone you care for is at the end of his or her life. How do we talk with someone who is dying? No one is ever really prepared for conversations near the end of life. What do we say and how do we say it? These are very important talks for both the living and the dying.

 

Reasonable Expectations

Our own emotional vulnerability makes it difficult to find the right words and to avoid awkward displays of grief. While it is not our role to create meaningful moments of conversation, we can bring comfort to the dying person by recognizing and respecting their attitudes and feelings. [Read more…]

Esther C. Bleuel
MF, MFT, MDR
President and Founder
Esther is dedicated to empowering leaders and teams to improve the quality of their work and interpersonal relationships through the mastery of conversational skills. Contact Esther today for assistance with your tough conversations.

Self Talk

Self Talk: How To Be Your Best Self

The goal of having a good relationship with yourself is to be the same person, with the same values and character, no matter where you are — home, work, with friends, with family, at church, playing sports — as you are when you are alone. In other words, who are you when no one is looking?

Here are a few examples of what it means to [Read more…]

Esther C. Bleuel
MF, MFT, MDR
President and Founder
Esther is dedicated to empowering leaders and teams to improve the quality of their work and interpersonal relationships through the mastery of conversational skills. Contact Esther today for assistance with your tough conversations.