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Don't Be a Donald This Christmas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

We’ve all seen the news stories – and the tweets that have prompted them. President-elect Donald Trump, a little more than a month from assuming the mantle of Leader of the Free World, taking a break from assembling a Cabinet and getting up to speed on the state of global affairs by calling out a critic as “terrible” and “dumb” or railing against Saturday Night Live for its parodies of him.

The book on Trump in the wake of these Twitter rants is that he’s got a thin-skin – hard to argue with when you consider SNL has been lampooning presidents since Nixon – and never before has once been goaded into publicly lambasting the series for it.

But the president-elect’s troubles in holding his tongue – and his keyboard – when criticized can actually be instructive to all of us this holiday season. Alec Baldwin may not be launching into an unflattering impersonation of us at the dinner table, but the friends and relatives we will be sharing turkey and mistletoe with can give us a bad case of what I call “epidermis penetratus” – the ability to get underneath our skin.

Here are three things all of us – including our 45th president -- can do to increase our tolerance, temper our thin skin, and have a holly, jolly Christmas season – or transition to power -- no matter which version of Santa comes knocking on our door.

1.    Consider that just as other people get under your skin, you most likely have the same effect on other people, too. Being human means being imperfect – and one of our imperfections is to forget this basic truth. Each of us has caused someone else to have a serious case of epidermis penetratus, too. At times, we all think our way is best, and that everyone else is the problem. If you do this, you’re setting yourself up for folly. 

It’s very easy to forget that each of us have our own idiosyncrasies, mannerisms and faults that will annoy other people. Yes, Mr. Trump, even you. Recognizing this will help humble you so that you can interact with others in ways that simply won’t be possible if you merely think everyone else is the problem. If you work on yourself, you just may find that your interactions with others may take less work.

2.    Don’t make it about you. Make every interaction about the other person or people. Try to step outside your own expectations and paradigms, place yourself in the shoes of others, and see how you can adapt to be more loving, kind and encouraging to them.  Consider others as better than yourself. If you do this, you will be amazed at how you see situations change – because you’ve changed. Selflessness is positively powerful, and it will serve you well during the holidays. In fact, you might even say it will make a HUGE difference.

3.    Be present – in the present. Forget, for a season, the future. Visits by friends and family are temporary, and their lives are short, just like yours. Truth is, we all tend to be so near-sighted that we forget how short, and special, life is. Before you know it, this holiday season will be a thing of the past – and all you’ll have left are the memories you made with the friends and relatives with whom you spent time. Make them ones to savor by following the first two tips meal-by-meal, moment-by-moment, even (or especially) when the topic turns to who voted for who in the election.  

      And, whatever you do, if epidermis penetratus does strike, stay away from Twitter. 

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