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Thanksgiving, the time when we give thanks not just FOR, but TO those who have been an important part of our lives. This year, I propose we all try a Social Thanksgiving – one where we focus on the true meaning and value of relationships, and take the time to pay attention to others first (and ourselves next).

Before the Internet, and social platforms, we had to rely on telephone calls and letters to stay in touch with our friends, family, business associates, and acquaintances. But today there are so many opportunities to stay close to everyone. We can participate with them vicariously from afar via the simplest of interactions, including texts, seeing their social posts, and feeling a part of interactions, events, and conversations.

As many of my friends and followers have come to know, my daughters mean everything to me. And as a divorced dad, I’ve had to fight, and give up a lot, to spend precious time with them. But I’m particularly thankful that in today’s age, “spending time” with my daughters isn’t limited to in-person time. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I get to spend very little actual time with my girls—which has been very tough for me. However, I’m very grateful for the “moments” (like last night with Niki) I’ve been able to have with each of them, and also of the ways I can stay in touch and be involved in their lives from a distance. Just the act of thinking of my girls, holding them in my thoughts and remembering those special moments gives rise to feelings of love and gratitude. I think our internal “connection” with those we love has a lot more power than we think.

I guess the Thanksgiving lesson in this is the special “Return on Relationship” you get when you’re just grateful for the relationship. When you stop worrying about what you don’t have and what you weren’t able to do and just let go, wonderful feelings can fill your thoughts. You get to share more moments, both in-person and via other connections.

Let’s make this Social Thanksgiving a time to make sure everyone remembers two of the most important rules of a relationship:

1: More important than finding your own light, help others to find theirs.

When we help others find their lights, we enter into a relationship with them – collaborating with them, giving of ourselves, and experiencing the gift of seeing life for a while through their eyes. We can always use a chance to and a fresh perspective on our own lives (and who knows, that could be the way that we end up finding our own light!).

2: Build people up, don’t tear them down… #JustBeNice and #BeGoodToPeople

This is one of my rules (perfectly phrased by a special friend I admire) and it should be one of yours too… no matter who you are interacting with. When we tear others down, it is only because we feel small and inadequate and are taking it out on someone else. Take that energy and put it into BUILDING the relationship and supporting others instead of trying to make them small enough that you seem more powerful, wise, or successful.

All people deserve your respect and genuine caring, and what really makes you shine is when you accept them, and build them up so they can see their own light and shine it on the path for others.

So this Thanksgiving, I thank each of you for building me up and helping me shine my light, and I hope I have the chance to do the same for you!

May you and your loved ones have a Happy, Loving, and Social Thanksgiving! #RonR… #NoLetUp!

As we express gratitude.JFK

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