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Do One Inspired Thing, No Matter What Anyone Else Thinks
Up to now, all my points have been about coping. But your holiday won't be inspiring until you go beyond coping. The fact that you survived another Christmas or Thanksgiving isn't really a victory. You will feel victorious when you rise to express an ideal, such as love, kindness, giving and caring. In other words, you need to be inspiring.

Sit down and think about how this can happen. I know a son who felt embarrassed that he could never express the tender side of himself to his family. They assumed that he was a rather tough customer, actually, and treated him that way. So one Christmas he wrote a poem that expressed his most tender feelings toward his mother, who was getting on in years. He printed the poem in a graceful font and had it framed in a silver frame. On Christmas morning, he stood up and read the poem aloud, much to everyone's amazement.

Did he turn into a saint at that moment? Did all his siblings offer glowing praise? No. He got a mixture of reactions, from his mother's tears to his brother's envy. Yet he knew that he had done something inspiring, and that was all that matters. Other people's reactions are up to them.

I think that's a good model for any inspiring act. Go inside yourself and find those idealistic impulses "they" won't let you express—and realize that it was your own reticence, embarrassment and timidity that has kept you feeling suppressed. If you don't want to write a poem, you can offer a heartfelt toast, give a present that's a touching remembrance and provide appreciation to someone who is normally overlooked. Make someone who feels depressed laugh. Make someone old feel like the life of the party. You already know what raises your spirits. With that knowledge and a little forethought, you can raise someone else's, and then the idealism of the holiday season will come to pass as a reality rather than one more missed opportunity.

Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription . You can listen to his show on Saturdays on SiriusXM , Channels 102 and 155.

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