‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’

–T.S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi”

Season of Belief

Many have written about the stresses of the holidays, how the time calls up unruly expectations, uncomfortable memories and unresolved losses. All of that is true, and yet as I write this evening, it also seems to hold an acute irony. This is a season of belief and giving, isn’t it? But the one person left out of that may well be you. Too often we fail to believe in and offer hope to the one person for whom these qualities are most warranted and meaningful. We work hard to give the right things to others, and to be absolutely unselfish, to do our part in creating the magic, but in doing so we also fail to give back any of that magic to ourselves. We’d rather berate ourselves with cautionary tales of neglected generosity than acknowledge that, yeah, we, too need something.

It is so vital that we believe first and foremost in who we are, in our lives, our unique value, our contributions, and so much more than in exterior performances and productions. Not believing in yourself creates a chaotic, distressed, ultimately uninhabitable desert of a life, a winter’s journey if there ever was one.

So, if the holidays create anxiety about money, let believing in yourself create a different kind of inner abundance. If relationships are driving you nuts, let self-belief enable you to step back and renew your spirits. If you don’t feel you are getting things done, it’s a good to let believing in yourself relax unrealistic pressures and create new space. You never know, self-belief and permission might just let a little piece of the desired magic show up on its own.

There isn’t much to say about this. And perhaps I’m crazy or becoming too sentimental (or simply have watched too many Hallmark movies), and yes I know there’s a lot to do and all that old stuff of expectations can still, in an eye blink, make itself known.

But I say give it up. Holiday self-judgments and perfectionism — or judgmental perfectionism anytime — will exhaust you and make you forget who you are.

So, being unabashedly corny, here’s my gift to you this year. Go ahead, unwrap it. It’s a rather handsome mirror. In it, I hope what you see is YOU, a pretty amazing and accomplished person, imperfect and beautiful, flawed and whole, vulnerable and very strong, the real deal and the whole package, worthy. This is a gift that comes to you with a card written in the hand of a child.

Yeah, go ahead and unwrap it, and enjoy it.

Indeed, I hope this present — this moment — brings you a smile today and real happiness for the coming year.


RSS and email subscription, monthly Unfolding Leadership newsletter, search and other functions may be found at the “Further Information” tab at the bottom of this page.


  • Lolly Daskal wrote:

    WOW Dan you have done it again, you have brought tears to my eyes and song to my heart.

    UNWRAP THE GIFT of who you are!

    This is a very important present! Thanks for the reminder!


  • As always, thank you Lolly. It’s always lovely to find your words here.


Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.