Brace yourselves. Are we going to talk about holiday emotions? Yeah, I am going to go there.
Thank you to those of you who have submitted your messages and questions about ‘how to deal’ with your holiday season. While I was going to do a video, I realized it was impossible to contain it all in five-to-eight minutes, so I am going attempt to try to address everyone in this one blog. Hang tight, here we go!
First, to do this right, let me first welcome you into a warm, cozy, sacred, and safe place, where there is a warm cozy fire, and a cup of my latest concoction of Black Onyx dark chocolate cocoa made with vanilla almond milk, ancho chile powder, Turkish honey, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
Sit down, relax, and take a deep breath as you sip the decadent warm hug of spicy chocolatey heaven and know that you are doing self-care with antioxidants, resveratrol, metabolism-boosters, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal immune boosting spices, Vitamin E, D and Calcium.
Yes, you can relax, it is guilt-free and not as sinful as you think. I told you that, not to be a buzz kill on holiday cheer, but so you don’t have to worry about what you’re sipping. Then if you’re feeling a little rebellious…don’t you worry – Shh! I won’t tell anyone, you can go ahead and grab that naughty, buttery macadamia nut coconut snowball cookie and sin a little.
Okay, so let’s talk.
For many of you, as the month of November rolled on - along with it came a barrage of commercials and advertisements hitting you in the face at once. You could not escape these suggestive pushes to ‘buy’ from your cell phone, computer, radio, TV or even in your junk mail or passing by billboards, store windows, and so forth.
Has this wreaked havoc with your emotions? From the things you have mentioned you wanted help with, apparently the answer is YES.
Some of you have stated this has stressed you out to keep up with the constant Inbox ads leaving you feeling as if you are a magic genie in charge of granting too many wishes. Some of you are panicked with choices, front porch theft woes and others, conflicted by the request for the ‘gift card’ which you feel is impersonal. There are days you wonder if you can grant every wish, some of you may wonder if you will disappoint your loved ones, feeling ‘inadequate’ because you are trying to put on a festive face when you are not feeling very festive.
The “retail therapy” lures to cure your own ails also may have beckoned… but in truth, unless it is something YOU TRULY NEED, you know this is a temporary fix and that later you will be dealing with your credit card statements and bank accounts that will remind you just how temporary that fix truly was for your soul.
Still, the warm comfort and glow of the twinkling lights and the warm fireplaces, songs you know all the lyrics to, surrounded your psyche. Nodding at fellow frenzied humans somehow reinforce and acknowledge your ‘being’ as part of belonging to a club that you’re a member of for the time being.
At the root of every human heart, every human mind and deep down in every person’s soul… all that really matters is love, inclusion, acceptance, and belonging, which comes with spending time with meaningful moments that matter beyond the chatter.
However, there is this place, this space, this time where you fluctuate between the turbo-speed-non-stop-harried state of being/doing and creating the expected holiday and the “silent night” of your time being alone zone of reflection and wonder.
The middle parts are a blur. There are only two images of this time of year…The harried ones are the ones humans own as the hustle-n-bustle of the season AND your reflective space moments. The latter may seem too few and far between unless you slow down enough to feel these feelings.
Though it is only really in the part of the silent night that is semi-peaceful… and this is where humans get reflective. No one is immune from this moment. However, you will distract yourself from the moment because you are too busy feeling THIS:
- · Stress from self-imposed expectation.
- · Stress from the expectation of others.
- · Fear of failure from not measuring up to said expectation.
- · Anxiety from judgment of ________ (what you do/don’t do, say or don’t say, wear or don’t wear, give and/or your reaction to said gifts, share, gift-wrap, serve/don’t serve, eat/drink, or create).
- · Worry from all the above.
- · Fatigue from worrying about all of the above.
- · Disappointment (to your family, friends, relatives) in some way shape or form for all of the above.
- · Frustration from any confrontation/argument,and/or ‘difference’ from how ‘things are to be done.’
As you sit and think about the holidays, your human gets REAL for split seconds at a time and you look at yourself, your life, your situation, and you may compare it with others.
For some, here you will find gratitude for what you have. Thumbs up…RUN with this!
For others, the concept of imagining scenarios other than your own seem farfetched and foreign… but you picture it. Good… contrast is everything. This is healthy.
For others still, you sit in the idea of the dream. Great – this is good too… romanticizing the holidays is healthy, everyone’s brain has desired the ‘post card’ perfect version of this as humans are sold from aforementioned commercials, TV and movies.
So in answer to your questions – YES, this is natural and you don’t need to feel alone in your thoughts, or worse, WRONG, as many of you have the same thoughts.
However, for all of you who have pondered this commercial ‘bill of goods’ you have been sold, changing of your own values and perception about the ‘idea’ of what the holidays have meant in the past vs. what you want them to mean in the future… YOU have the power to change this.
In your mind and heart there are other realities that no one mentions publicly aloud as often as you hear the late Andy Williams sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” as only he can. Judging from the questions you’ve sent in, it is time we talk about the other realities, too.
As I have been working coaching clients dealing with individual unique dilemmas and the whirlwind of holiday plague syndrome, I will say that while everyone’s story is different, there is one common thread and that is to be UNDERSTOOD in the state of flux.
When it comes to wanting to be understood in this “silent night” space, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
These are the various realities, which exist behind the masks of the crowded mall retail adult zombies, when adults see holidays through the eyes of:
- · Children (who still have the wonder and magic)
- · The older kids (who have lost the magic/fantasy and look at it from only a surface level of what is missing)
- · The elderly (wondering if this holiday will be their last, facing mortality, wondering if there is more time to enjoy them the way they used to; and others still who are sitting at nursing homes wondering if the holidays will even find them)
- · The adults who are single, divorced or widowed (tired of having holidays alone, dreaming of ‘one day,’ as they gaze in the haze of their wishes/reality wanting that special someone to share the holiday with)
- · The adults who are married with families (trying to recreate that lost magic, stressed out at trying to get right what their parents got wrong in their eyes or trying to have it at all due to limited resources, struggling not to kill the magic for their kids)
- · The adults who have tried to create the magic (but are dissatisfied strapped with family dysfunction and complaints about the holidays; blended families or families differing in religious beliefs)
- · Those who are suffering economically to partake/participate as the rest of their family expects them to show up.
- · The empty-nesters wondering where the heck everyone went.
- · The homeless (who have nothing, sitting from the place of observing people stress about the trivial pursuit of the perfect holiday), but also wondering where the heck everyone went, and basically only worrying about survival at this point.
- · Military families (whose families are apart for the holidays, wondering if/when they’ll be lucky to be together)
- · Those who are ill (looking only toward wellness to be able to experience a holiday feeling good)
- · Those suffering the holidays with grief, loss, and mourning as this time of year is hard with missing loved ones
And the list goes on – no matter what situation exists, there is still a commonplace for EVERYONE CALLED HOPE.
This hope sits in the pocket of the “visual” of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree:
Yes, at one point every human has felt like this tree… and if you have, it’s okay.
IT IS NORMAL.
Whether you were one of the few children at an all-adult relative holiday gathering expected to entertain yourself with games/toys as to not to disturb the adults; or if you were the adult invited to a party among neighbors/friends and you felt misplaced; at one point you have been this tree, too.
Add the above visual to the “audio” of The Eagles covering of Charles Brown, Jr. & Gene C. Redd’s, “Please Come Home for Christmas” tells one of the tales.
Here is a ‘this is what it is, but I hope it is different’ vibe within a story in dealing with the reality of loss during the holidays trying to regain happiness (again). While you’ve heard this song before, perhaps now you’ll hear it differently.
Completing this picture and your other senses, as you sniff the funky combination of fresh pine, and holiday gingerbread cookies with the feel of warmth coming from the crackling fire… you sit with whatever your holiday reality is with the hope next year will be somehow transformed.
This sums up the story for everyone listed in all of the bullet points above.
In working with the many charities over the years in everything from toy drives for inner city underprivileged children to senior centers, reading to kids at children’s hospitals and domestic violence shelters, and soup kitchens -‘not being forgotten,’ feelings of inclusion and that tiny spark of hoping the holidays are different next year also exists. I have seen it all.
But unlike the things you’ve submitted – I want to gently remind you that it is in the place where you can see gratitude and hope that holds the place where the real magic of the season shines.
WHY? Restored faith may exist here for you.
It is also here, you may shift your perception of your own pre-existing holidays. I have seen regret here, too – especially from those who have volunteered and wondered why they spent so many years griping about what they had, when they continued to feel in competition with their friends.
Gratitude for finding the magic in every moment, even in your own wresting with emotions of appreciation, loss and the yearning, longing and dreaming of what is still possible has merit. It is here for you to experience and that is valuable in shaping your thoughts, ideas and can fill your heart, too.
YOU do not need to compete with anyone… what you make of the season is up to you, therefore your emotions are yours to keep in check and there is no ‘expectation’ other than the one you place in the space of your perception of what YOU ACCEPT as …well, acceptable.
While charity work changes your perspective on the holidays, I have also seen the other side of the holidays in everyday life. The domino effect in the psyche and soul of human existence for everyday people who grapple with their own reality in light of self-imposed expectation is alarming in numbers.
Even if you are not in a ‘less than fortunate’ situation like those who require the charities and their assistance, there is some ‘need’ that exists in your heart and among the millions of those in every single home.
Hope, trust, faith, wanting to continue to believe, sighing through the season looking to the New Year as the clean slate of wishes, dreams and resolve for whatever is tugging at your emotional holiday links….THIS IS WHY I am writing this… FOR YOU to know that you are not alone.
I SEE YOU, LOVELY SOULS. Are you finally feeling addressed yet? Smile. It is going to be okay.
Everyone may have ‘something’ they deal with during this time, even if it is their own time of reflection and self-actualization/realization and their place in the world of this whole holiday season.
I am with you on this journey to bring to the forefront with your awareness that you need not suffer in silence with whatever you are suffering with, and the reality you face when your holidays are not quite what you envisioned them to be.
There is no shame in saying that you hope next year is different. It does not make you greedy or selfish to wish, to hope or to dream for this to be so, even when it appears on the outside you may have everything.
No material item can replace what the heart wants, what the soul wants and what the mind has been teased to desire through the ‘pictures’ of what humans are conditioned to idealize the holidays being.
Every human does their best – yes, even those in the charity zone of the less fortunate, trying to create happy, merry, cheery, something out of what may seem like ‘not much to work with’ or ‘be enough’ to do what the human spirit hopes to knit together as a makeshift fragment for what someone they serve really dreams about. Trust me when I say, a grateful heart is always that … grateful and they do not judge for what you cannot do, they are just grateful for what you can do.
But it is here I want you to see the beauty and the magic of those actions, the kind words, the generosity of spirit and the hope that can exist at any time you choose to sit in it.
· Take a deep breath and first appreciate where you are.
· Then smile and be honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings. Be proud of yourself for saying what you are afraid to say, for fear of being a Grinch, or otherwise. Coco Chanel said, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself, ALOUD.”
· Understand that what you are feeling is normal, and yes, temporarily seasonal, and you can create your new reality of where you sit in reconciling your expectations of others and instead come to terms with what you yourself are going to do about transforming how you make your choices.
Your greatest commitment to your dealing with everything that links to the senses and your emotional well-being of the holiday season is understanding how you process your thoughts and feelings.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, but you are allowed to give yourself permission to do this, even when others are trying to force you into emotions that you are not feeling honestly or authentically.
When you confront what it is that is really going on, you honor your truth and cut yourself some slack and give yourself a break from being fake, or pretending to meet the expectation of being “on” all of the time.
Showing up as your best self, is really all that any human can do to make the most of what “is” in the moment, so take the pressure off of yourself to be ‘perfect’ – because the best holidays are those that are ‘not so perfect’ – just real and honest.
You can have your greatest moments in this space and when you have honest conversations with your loved ones, you may soon discover that they too are grateful for your honesty, as you give them permission to be themselves in the experiences and the moments you will later cherish as what they are… authentic.
Peaceful, blessed, healthy and harmonious holidays to you. May you find your heart, your joy, your truth, the beauty in every emotion you feel, and own all of it.
With that, I will dream right along with you in all that is possible so that next year is all what you wish for it to be and more.
What is your holiday dream? Don’t let it go… hold it in your heart, let it sparkle and shine. Until then let whatever glows within you ignite what magic you can find right now.
In the meantime, I ask you this loaded question: