One thing about depression, stress and anxiety is that it keeps us from connecting with others in a loving way. It's ironic because the way out of depression, anxiety, and stress is to figure out how to reconnect.
This Christmas season has us thrown together with some relatives and acquaintenances that we don't particularly "like." We find them annoying. They dampen our spirits. Hooray. For it is just such an occasion that can call us back to our essential selves and our essential connection to our fellow man. We don't often think of our least favorite relative as our fellow man. But in the cosmic scope of things, such is the case.
Instead of focusing our judgment on people during these emotional times when we secretly feel they are "ruining" the occasion for us, we could use these situations as a meditation on the path of veneration that Rudolf Steiner advises. Rather than focusing on the person through the screen of our dislike, we could decide to "enter lovingly into their merits." Because that helps our own heart to open. Our hearts will not open while we are in a mode of judgment. When our hearts are open is when we experience the joy of life. We cannot experience the joy with our heart closed up like a shaking fist.
Our hearts only open when we insist on trodding the path of veneration. Because in the final analysis, all is sacred. It always works. There is always another way to look at a person. We just need to move beyond our fear (dislike is a kind of fear) and be open to something new. It is only then when we get out of depression and approach reality. And reality is always a surprise. You can't plan reality but you can plan to move yourself onto a path that leads to it.
Merry Christman, A. B. Curtiss