Watch out for these familiar holiday pitfalls:
High Expectations: “It has to be perfect!”
Over Commitment: “I’ll clean, decorate, host, cook, buy presents, watch the kids, and…and…and”
Over Indulgence: “It’s the holidays; I can have another drink, another piece of pie, another present. It’s the holidays, we can afford it…right?”
The Holidays can quickly become a practice in over extending yourself physically, emotionally, and financially.
I am reminded of Dr. Seuss’s book “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” and the realization that the Grinch had:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas (Holidays), he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas (Holidays) means a little bit more.”
Transforming the Holiday Grinch:
Holidays are about CONNECTION. In our world of busy doing, we forget the importance of just being. We forget that a heart to heart connection does not come from presents, food, decorations, lavish parties, or money. It comes from the spontaneous hug, the listening ear, the shared tear, the thoughtful note (“I’m thinking of you.”), or the willingness to be fully present for another person without worrying about what you need to be doing.
To be Seen, Heard, and Understood is the validation of the heart. It’s what made the Grinch’s “small heart grow 3 sizes that day.”
Keep these helpful tips in mind over the Holiday Season:
Manage Expectations: Connection does not come from perfection. It comes from sharing and accepting our imperfections.
Simplify Your Commitments: If you are so busy doing that you cannot stop long enough to enjoy the experience, you’re doing too much. Connection comes from sharing the experience. To share an experience, we have to stop long enough to appreciate it.
Moderation: Be mindful of over connecting to objects over the Holidays such as food, drinks, decorations, and gifts. All of these things are healthy in moderation, but in excess we miss the mark on what it means to have a heart-centered connection with others. Excess typically leads to feelings of guilt and shame, which block our ability to love ourselves as well as others.
Ask for Help: If the memories and feelings of the Holidays are significantly distressing, ask for help. Make a connection with someone who can help you remember that you are not alone. Give yourself the gift of being seen, heard, and understood this Holiday Season. Validate your heart by asking for help.
Happy Holidays from Inner Journey Counseling!