As wonderful as this time of year can be, it is not for the faint-hearted!
Some people call this time of the year the ‘the silly season’. I looked that up. The dictionary defines the silly season as “a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior”. Sounds about right to me.
For years I deliberately didn’t take leave from my psychology and healing practice over the Christmas / New Year period because it was actually a time people needed extra support. Why?
It’s a veritable mine-field of triggers for most of us. We really get to see the many ways we don’t love ourselves. On the bright side, it’s a wonderful time to practice loving ourselves and changing old patterns that no longer serve us.
What do I mean? Let me count the ways…
a) Family – It’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, summer school holidays in the Southern Hemisphere, Thanksgiving in the US, New Year’s Eve… Books and movies show this as a romantic time where you and your loved ones gather together in joyful harmony so when reality doesn’t participate in this dreamy vision, it’s that much more difficult than usual not to tear our hair and rend our garments in despair, hopelessness and sadness.
This time to spend with family and beloveds could be wonderful – unless you dread time with your family, or your parents drive you nuts, or you feel grief or loneliness because you have no family – or none that you want to acknowledge anyway. Or you feel trapped by having children, or the same old dynamics play out every year around the table…
This kind of time with family is prime time for triggering our childhood wounding. It vividly brings us face-to-face with the ways we learned we are unlovable or not good enough and we are vulnerable to the self-critical habits we were taught as children.
I like to send my clients off to take notes and observe their family dynamics so that we can process their experiences in the months to come. Like gathering nuts to chew on later. The nuttier your family, the more there is to collect. People usually come back and say, “NOW I know why I am the way I am!”
It’s a great time to see and step out of your old patterns, heal your emotional wounds and begin to love yourself the way you longed to be loved as a child. Keep that as your focus and even the hair-ripping times will become more bearable.
Go on, I dare you! Take notes this year.
b) Money – Yowsers! It’s a consumerist orgy! This is a lethal combination of vacation time, Black Friday, sales and massive competitive gift-buying pressure. All the money issues and fears can rear up. Do I have enough, will I make it through, have I done enough, what does it mean about me…?
You can easily end up feeling stressed about your finances or spending in ways you don’t feel good about later. If you believe money or gifts affirm your worth this one’s a kicker.
How can you love yourself in the face of all this money pressure or recklessness?
How can you love yourself with your money?
Pause and ask yourself, “How can I use my money now in a way that will leave me feeling safe and proud of myself later?”
c) Food and drink – Oh boy. Let me just say one word: overindulging. It’s totally encouraged. Go ahead good people. Ignore your inner Truth and override your body’s signals. In January the magazines, diet centres and gyms take full advantage of our regret as we hobble out of our splurges bloated and despondent. AA meetings are packed to the rafters too.
The question is, how do we withstand the intense pressure to eat too much, drink too much, go out too much…?
When facing the mounds of food and drink, pause and ask yourself, “If I loved myself, what would I choose to do now?”
d) New Year – Just as we finally stagger through the final stages of the gauntlet we get hit with an opportunity to review the year passed and gaze at the year ahead. We are told we should set resolutions for how we will do it all oh-so-differently in this new year.
I don’t know how you feel about these resolutions. I mean most of them have fallen by the wayside by mid-January and no wonder! New Year resolutions are actually a sneaky way of declaring how little you love yourself just the way you are.
If I could recommend a resolution it would be this, “This new year I intend to love myself better and accept myself more for who I am.”
We’re about to enter this Tunnel of Triggers and it might be easier to hire someone to beat us up thoroughly and get the pain over with all in one go. Or…. maybe, just maybe… we could try to do this challenge differently.
What if this festive season could be a Tunnel of Love instead? Self-love. How? Do this little process. You may want to write your answers down:
Think of someone you really love. Imagine them heading into this obstacle course of the season.
• How do you feel about them heading into that? What does your heart say about it?
• What advice would you give them? What is the most loving and kind thing you could say to them about looking after themselves during these challenges?
Take a moment now to really ponder that advice. What made you say that?
Now turn it around and say that exact same advice, in the exact same loving tone, to your own precious self. Say it out loud now if you can.
Will you take your advice?
If you loved yourself, how would you choose to navigate the many challenges of this season?
What can you put in place to help you do that?
I hope you love yourself well this season. May it be a time of coming home to yourself in a deeply loving and harmonious way. I wish you inner peace.
In love and light
PS if you have a copymy book If You Loved Yourself, What Would You Do Now? will also support you during this time so USE IT these holidays! Even if you simply open and read random pages of it when you need some loving guidance or support.
It also makes a good gift for friends who want to learn how to love themselves and follow their heart’s Truth.
Use my free intention-setting video meditations in the member’s area. Try the free Self-Love meditation video for five days in a row and see how that feels.
Read my blog. USE the supportive resources!
The book is available on Amazon or directly from me