Are you surprised it’s November? I know I am. Where did the year go? Now I have to think about the holidays. I’ll be honest, because that’s what you like about my posts, the holiday season is stressful, not always in a good sense. I have learned over the years that making space is necessary for a peaceful season.
For me, this year is different. I no longer expect peace and joy to fill the air, bringing glad tidings and good cheer. The key word in that sentence is expect.
Great expectations pave the road to disappointment, anger, frustration, starting the first week of November and running through to January 1. I apologize if that seems pessimistic or unwarranted given that we are talking about Thanksgiving through Christmas or Hanukkah.
Recent years were hard for me, celebrating the holidays was a total chore. Can you relate to that?
Celebrating was draining for me. I went through the motions of shopping, wrapping, over giving, festive meal planning and cooking, calendar coordinating various celebrations and not once felt the joy in any of it. I always wanted those experiences, still, I cannot claim them.
These motions are expectations imprinted on our delicate selves early in life and repeated year after year. You might call them traditions. Some are good, yet some need be relegated to the past; wrapped up in a pretty box with the finest paper and biggest bow, then gently moved to make space for the present day. Think about that.
I did have the power all along. Following is some of what I learned:
Do as much or as little as your inner self feels good about. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. If you must, then find a compromise. I choose to honor the holidays. Speak in gentle tones to yourself.
Do be grateful, count your blessings, yes, by all means do that and feel good in your heart because if you’re able to read this, you have much to be grateful for. So many people are far less fortunate on many levels.
If you’re experiencing any amount of depression or anxiety, or both, and the holiday season makes you feel like running far away, please don’t suffer in silence. I know now that when it seems like the world is a giant happy Holiday Spectacular, it’s an illusion. Don’t buy into it. Remember where that road paved by great expectations will lead you. It’s a hangover that’s not worth it.
With much gratitude, I can say my hardest years are behind me. I feel cautiously optimistic about this holiday season, and that’s because I matter. I know with certainty that I matter. You know what? You matter too. Don’t ever forget it.
Make space for peace and joy no matter how you choose to honor the holidays. Listen to your inner self and maybe see that peace and joy manifest in a different form for you. You may not recognize it right off.
May peace and joy find the warm light of your essence this season and forever more.