Friday, December 11, 2015

Gratitude for the New Year 

The beginning of every year is a hopeful time. We make a decision to improve something with ourselves. At the very least, we have intentions, if not an entire strategy, to edit aspects of our lives that we don’t like. 

But for 2016, I have a different kind of New Year's Resolution and that's gratitude. Rather than focus on changing the things I don’t like about myself, I'll be looking at all the things that I'm pleased with.

Being grateful for family, for deepened relationships, for good health and so on. It's about striving to embrace all that we have in life, all the people we love, and all the stories we create in the moments that we’ve been given.

In this "gratitude" post, I ask others, "What Does Family Mean To You":

Samar Sabha
Life Coach and Creativity & Design Thinking Trainer 

Family is a safe place that’s free of judgment, honours differences and is full of hugs, “I love you”, “I care about you”, “I support you”, “I will not let you down”, “I am here for you” and “You are great and beautiful as you are”. Where do I place my family according to my own definition? I give myself seven out 10. Some moments I give myself 10 out of 10 and sometimes I decide to do better next time.

Dr Sahar Jumean
Paediatric Dentist

Family is morning coffee with my spouse and mayhem trying to rush the kids out of the house in time for school. It's laughing uncontrollably with my siblings and a hug from a parent that feels like home. Family is strolling on a beach collecting seashells and opening gifts Christmas morning. It's hand-me-downs that are so precious. Family is chaotic order, it's knowing that someone is just a phone call away willing to drop everything in a heartbeat for you; unconditional love despite time or distance. 

Sheela Sheth
Food Contributor 

Family is inspiration, strength, support and providence. A light at the end of the tunnel.

Karma Khalidi
Early Childhood Teacher 

Family is all the people around me who have made a mark on who I am today – mostly in a positive way. Some of the people I consider family are actually friends who’ve shared special moments with me. As a mother, I also understand that family is unmeasurable love. I feel blessed to have a loving and supportive family that pushes me to excel and simply makes my life worth living.

Rula Wardeh Sakkab
Yoga Instructor

I see my yoga students as family – those I share similar interests, dreams and lifestyles. My second cousin is family even though we have totally different interests. My closest friend is like family because we understand and can forgive each other. With family, I don’t feel judged, even when I have unintentionally done or said something wrong. But I don’t take them for granted – family it is still a relationship that needs to be nurtured with compassion.

Dr Marwan Jumean

Family includes all those we love, trust and respect and these are the cornerstones of a happy family. My siblings and I are lucky to have been raised on such a foundation. My family is my support system; they are there for me when I need them the most. My wife and I try to raise our kids the same way our families raised us: to love, respect, motivate and support each other; what affects one family member, affects the family as a whole.

Razan Shwayhat


“My family is my life” may seem like a cliché but when you read between the lines, you understand that it means: 

“I” is no longer “myself”
I take care of myself for them
They are in my thoughts, prayers and plans – everything is oriented around them
It’s the place I always want to go to and where I feel safe

Noor Sa'adeh
Blogger & Production Manager 

The passage and journey of life is much more apparent with a family. Birth, death, marriage, successes and failures are all shared and create many opportunities to see one another to check in and check up. You are loved by family “just because”. There is no need to prove yourself or to be sought after only for what you can do for others. The unconditional love of family, even when these relationships are tested by the stresses of life, overcomes all. 

Sally Hurst

Private Chef & Food Blogger 

Family are those we depended on to be the one constant in our lives. Growing up in different countries, friends would change, apartments would be different, languages unfamiliar, schools would be new, but my parents and sisters would remain the same. My husband's Jordanian Circassian family has embraced me warmly and with enthusiasm. Their smiles, hugs and habibatees break through any cultural barriers that might exist. 

Banan Gharaibeh
Food Blogger

I realised how much my family is truly my treasure this year when my youngest son graduated. At that moment, I truly didn't regret quitting and refusing long hours at a pharmaceutical company or having my own pharmacy. Nowadays, I’m happy as a food blogger and my whole family participates with food and setup ideas! 

Zeina Shahzada-Majali
Assistant Director at National Press 

Family is my heart, my strength, my happiness. I don't only consider my kin as close family but also some of my friends who’ve been with me through thick and thin. Even colleagues I've worked with for over a decade have become my family. One of the most beautiful qualities of our part of the world is how family remains deeply rooted in our society.

Dr Josi Salem-Pickartz
Clinical Psychologist

I owe who I am, in all positive and negative aspects, to the family that I come from. In our current family, we are a great team and very good, close friends. We can rely on each other, trust each other and understand and respect each other’s unique personalities. Family is the soil in which a person grows and the water that she needs to develop her personality and potential to its fullest.

Sonia Salfity

Family is sharing of laughter and tears during good times and bad. These memories are like a beacon of light that can shine on the darkest of days, bringing joy even when things aren't going my way. Family can encompass so much when we allow ourselves to open up and be courageous and authentic. I am grateful that I belong to a God who shows me how to love and how to accept love from others. Suddenly, I don't focus on shortcomings but on the endless blessings that flow through these relationships.

Dr Amjad Jumai'an
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

As a child psychiatrist and father, I know very well that a child’s wellbeing is dependent on his family’s wellbeing. For me, family is a group of people that work cohesively, are open to one another about their thoughts, are not afraid to share their shortcomings and to learn from their mistakes. They make decisions together and subsequently have self-respect and mutual respect.

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