It’s the holidays . . . so be happy
Isn’t that what all the songs, the stories, the TV specials tell us? Happy is even the first or second sentiment of all of the messages we receive on everything from our postage stamps to the music in elevators: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Eid Greetings, Happy New Year.
The message is clear—have fun. There is such hype about feeling good, giving gifts, and, of course, receiving gifts. But the happiness is all very idealized.
We see holiday perfection depicted over and over again wherever we look. Family gatherings are portrayed as loving; members are connected, respectful, and understanding. Meals looking delicious, and we can almost smell them through the pages of our favorite magazines. And we all want to enjoy those we love; but that’s not always how it works, particularly in some families—like my family of origin, and maybe yours.
. . . except for those other families
Yes, this is what we all want, but for some families, these times are less than happy. Family alcoholism, divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one all create stress that seems out-of-place during these idealized joyful times, making them somehow even more painful.
So what can you do? Yes, you can get super-stressed, very depressed, and just get through it. Or you can use your resilience to actually enjoy the holidays. In fact, the holidays can even help you develop conscious resilience, as they certainly give you enough adverse circumstances to bump up against! But you can make choices to do something about them.
What you can do . . .
1. Actively love your inner child. You deserve no less.
2. Set helpful limits (for more information on this, read the second step in my newest book, The Resilient Woman) to actively care for yourself during this time:
3. Create new traditions that make more sense to the adult you are now:
What does this all add up to? Giving yourself permission to try some new behaviors by putting your resilience into action.
Challenge those girly thoughts that tell you to please others, and try to take care of yourself. Now that’s a real gift!