Tendership is a word I made up myself. It describes a tender friendship that brings soulful wellness.

I recently read a BBC article a friend shared on Facebook about words taken from other countries that have no direct English equivalent, but represent very precise emotions that are neglected in our language. It talks about “emotion granularity” which means some people use different emotion words interchangeably as the same thing, while others are highly precise in their descriptions and view feelings with specific actions associated with them.

This emotional vocabulary determines how well we cope with life.

I totally get this! I love rhymes and wordplay and how poetry can offer a different way of looking at the world, much like this article describes:

“In our stream of consciousness – that wash of different sensations feelings and emotions – there’s so much to process that a lot passes us by,” Lomas says. “The feelings we have learned to recognize and label are the ones we notice – but there’s a lot more that we may not be aware of. And so I think if we are given these new words, they can help us articulate whole areas of experience we’ve only dimly noticed.”

I’ve been thinking about the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and how all this affects our daily lives, when what we all might be looking for is a little wave of calm—and a little tendership—to slow things down a bit. Tenderness is the sweet ingredient everyone needs to bring well being to a premium. It costs nothing and is easily accessible, but not always within reach.

I’ve always believed that keeping things simple is key. I’m pretty confident I’ve got it down now, though the how of it has always been the most challenging when “schedules are cray and plates are spinning away.”

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First things first is the magnitude of the gratitude attitude. Every inspirational thing you read or hear says this is the way to go, and I agree. Especially in the season of Ho Ho Ho! It’s mandatory for success, good karma, and an all around satisfying life.

A powerful way to make good things happen and tenderize the toughness we’re all surrounded by is to remember to slow it down.

Pay attention. Focus. Feel it.

Ask someone: How are you doing? What have you been up to?

Then do that magical next step: LISTEN.

Your genuine interest might get someone to stop and think about what they’re actually doing. You may even inspire them to try new experiences, or appreciate old ones in a new light. Yes, there’s so much to process that a lot passes us by. Shoot them a smile while you’re at it. God is in the details.

It was only a sunny smile,
And little it costs in the giving
But like the light, it scattered the night
And made the day worth living.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

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We all have to look out for ourselves. Self-care, keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground, and identifying the subtleties of our emotional landscape. Always remembering that it takes a village to make good things happen. You get what you give.

Everyday is a day for tendership, a day to give thanks, and to make our Christmas spirits fly throughout the entire year.

“Every person is a golden link in the chain of my good.” — Florence Scovel Shinn