During the holidays, let alone any time of year, it’s easy to consume ourselves with what others are doing. We unconsciously compare (and compete), wondering if what we’re doing is enough and fearing that we’ll disappoint or be judged if not.
Such fears and people-pleasing tendencies may multiply at a time of year bustling with activity and expectation. Worries about spending too much (or little), missing out on parties and activities, and not getting the right gifts are compounded by over-commercialization. Who wants to miss out on “the best deal of the year?” And those last-minute bargains seem like they’d put the perfect touch on an already over-stuffed stocking.
How do we not react impulsively to fear and seductive advertisements? How do we stay true to what we want? How do we make conscious, values-based choices at a time when emotions run high? It may sound simple, but you can start by giving some thought to what you want the holiday to look and feel like.
Some questions you might reflect on:
- What do you most want to remember about this holiday season?
- Who do you want to connect or reconnect with?
- Which activities fill your life with joy – and equally important, which deplete you?
- What are you doing because you think you should, and is there a way to let go of should’s to honor what you truly want?
- What would help you feel blessed and connected this holiday season? What pulls you away from these feelings?
- What would make gift-giving a joyous task, rather than tedious or guilt-ridden?
Ultimately, it’s important to bring awareness and intention to times when fear, doubt, or confusion can overtake you. But try not to get too attached to things unfolding exactly as you’d planned! None of us can predict how the holiday will unfold. Some of the activities you set your sights on may come at a time when you’re tired and under the weather. Every now and then, pause to check-in with yourself. Notice what you’re feeling and do your best to honor what you need at that moment.
You’re bound to experience a range of feelings over the holidays. Your most important job is to let them all in. Let the joy of the season be felt when your child or grandchild gleefully sinks her teeth into a Christmas cookie. Let yourself feel blessed by the small miracles of being alive for another holiday season. And also, let yourself feel all the stuff you might be inclined to think you shouldn’t – sadness, fear, disappointment. This time of year brings up a lot for many. Try to let judgment rest as you open your heart to kindness and understanding.
May all beings feel joy, connection, and peace.