December 18, 2018 Blog No Comments

I was thinking about what we need this holiday season and the line “Try a Little Tenderness” floated into my mind. It’s a song Otis Redding sang years ago, a love song intended to coach men on how to approach women, particularly if they are sad and weary. (*See link below) It seems particularly apropos now as the whole nation is feeling a little weary.

While we may have a public, holly jolly face, most everyone I know is tense, hanging on the news, and as the song says “waiting, just anticipating”. There are so many things hanging in the balance, it’s hard to be light and cheerful. Maybe a little tenderness would help.

Here are some thoughts about how tenderness may in fact be an antidote to see us through this season.


Teachers know this, public speakers know it too– anytime you really want to get someone’s attention, try making your voice softer. It quiets the room and people pay attention.  Wouldn’t that be nice, wouldn’t it be helpful if everyone started speaking with quiet, soft tones?

What if the content was gentle, soft and kind as well? Ahh, wouldn’t you enjoy the respite from the glaring, alarm raising tones that are all around us? Can you feel yourself relaxing, breathing deeper with just the thought of tenderness? I do,  it seems I’ve had tense shoulders and shallow breathing for a while.

Soft, kind words with clear intent have a strong commanding impact -they help us change gears.


An adage in the recovery community is to give what you need. It’s a way to ensure that you are putting yourself in a place to give and receive what is good for you. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, focus on giving the kindness and consideration you know you would like.

It’s a simple formula to circumvent the tendency to stay worried, stressed and anxious about things you don’t always have control over. By focusing on giving to others, you bypass ruminating on your stressed feelings.

Giving to others takes the focus off your own stress.


Holidays can be daunting, if you’re facing many obligations from family and friends. The stress from toxic family dynamics can leave you feeling side-swiped. If that’s your reality, maybe you need to give yourself a little tenderness as well?

Do you need to keep everything as it’s always been? Are there difficult situations and difficult people that you’d like to avoid? This might be the year to consider new options. What about creating a new kinder and more joyous holiday tradition? Imagine sharing it with framily (friends who are like family) and the fun it could bring? Give yourself a break.

Extend kindness to yourself, give yourself alternatives to stressful holiday situations.


What do we love about the holidays? It’s the chance to express our love and appreciation to those who are important to us with cards and gifts and acts of generosity. We literally step out of our typical day to day routine to embrace an entire process that is founded on thoughts and acts of loving consideration.

On an energetic level, we’re doing something very important – we’re raising our energy and embracing love-based actions. And on an energetic level, something equally important happens – when our loving gestures are received, we’re shown that love right back in return. It creates a synergistic cycle of giving and receiving in which everyone is elevated.  This can create amazing, positive change in difficult situations.

There is a balance in giving and receiving that creates an energetic match – it can help soften and resolve many difficult feelings and situations.

No matter what you face this holiday season, there is probably room for improvement over its stressfulness. Maybe it’s time to try a little tenderness?   Embracing an attitude shift can make a big difference. If you understand that being soft is a powerful and effective way to be heard and understood, you can use it to cut through any conflict. When you give the kindness and generosity of spirit that you’d like to see, it helps others as well as yourself. When you go easy on yourself, you give yourself the brake you’ve been longing for. And this spirit of generosity always gives back, for as you lift yourself, you lift up others as well.

Try it this season and see how it works for you. If you’d like help putting these ideas into action, I’d welcome the opportunity to walk you through it. My Transformational Coaching and Counseling is designed to promote energetic shifts through difficult situations. See my website for more information and reach out to me through my free consultation link. I’d love to hear from you.

*YouTube link to Otis Redding’s  Try A Little Tenderness

 Photo by Frank Becker

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com