In this whirlwind of expectations we rush around and give up our self-care to please others. We lose ourselves in pursuit of an ideal that seems out of reach. Then we resent the people we are supposed to love because we keep trying to please everyone and forgetting ourselves. And then we resent ourselves.
We have to begin with ourselves.
Sound selfish? Maybe. Everything we experience is a choice – based on what we believe to be true. But what if you planned ahead instead? If you had a big project to do, you would follow a process. Why not go into the holidays the same way? If you know what you want out of it you will have better choices available to you.
What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to feel at the end of the week? I want to enjoy the company of family and friends and feel at peace with whatever comes. I realize that no one has to change for me to be ok…in fact I haven’t got a shot in hell of making that happen. At the end of every day I want to feel accomplished and good about myself so this is what I will strive for. We are all on the same journey and have a right to be exactly where we are, doing what we need to do to get there.
Assemble your team. Who do you need to surround yourself with that has a common goal? Which people in your life do you feel supported around? Take some time to reach out to people who make you smile, have a great attitude and who know how to look at the beauty in others and the world. Don’t have any? Join a church, a fellowship, a meetup.
What resources do you need? You don’t always have to cook a five course meal, spend the most money, and bring the most expensive gifts. Find things that will help you streamline the holidays in ways that free you up to enjoy the time rather than lose it in the pursuit of perfection. (Perfection is a lie anyway) Order some things precooked and dress them up. Shop on line instead of going out in the crowds. You will buy yourself the precious gift of time.
Budget your time, money and emotions: You may not want to spend all day at your parents so why not go for an hour or so instead? Even though you might have brought the fancy wine or truffles in the past doesn’t mean it is required. You can choose to do something different this time. If you can only take Uncle Harry for short spurts then call him ahead of time and have a conversation with him on your terms. Then when you see him you have already invested time with him and won’t feel guilty for bailing early. Decide what feels right for you and balance your time investment so that you carve out time for a run, a movie, or curling up in the chair with a good book. Feeling like you have a choice empowers you to make better choices.
If spending time with family is not in the cards, who can you help? Research ways you can volunteer in your community. If you have a talent you can share with others…find a way to do it. Honor your desires and needs right where you are. And if you aren’t sure…break out a piece of paper and a pen and explore. Writing down your needs and feelings will empower you. It gives you tangible evidence that you have made an effort to look for a solution.
The choice is yours. What will you do to make this a successful week?