How to gently navigate the shadow side of the festive season.
As wonderful as this time of year can be, it is not for the faint-hearted!
I’ve heard this time of the year being called ‘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 a time people often needed extra support. Why? It’s a veritable mine field of triggers for most of us.
During this time we really get to see the many ways we don’t love ourselves. On the bright side, because of this, it is a wonderful time to practice loving ourselves and changing old patterns that no longer serve us. I’ll give you some ideas of how to do this.
What do I mean? Let me count the ways we can be triggered…
a) Family – It’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, summer school holidays in the Southern Hemisphere, Thanksgiving in the US, New Year’s Eve… Traditionally it’s time to spend with family and beloveds. That’s wonderful – unless you dread time with your family, or your parents drive you nuts, or you feel trapped by having children, or the same old dynamics play out every year around the table or if you feel grief or loneliness because you have no family – or none that you want to acknowledge anyway.
Books and movies show this as a romantic time where you and your loved ones gather together in joyful harmony so if reality doesn’t participate in this dreamy vision, it’s that much more difficult not to tear your hair and rend your garments in despair, hopelessness and sadness.
This time with family is prime time for triggering our childhood wounding. It really brings us face-to-face with the ways we learned we are unlovable or the self-critical habits we were taught.
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. Go on, take notes this year, I dare you. Clients 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.
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. 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. 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…?
How can you love yourself in the face of all this money pressure or recklessness? Love yourself with your money.
Pause and ask yourself, “How can I use my money now in a way that will leave me feeling loved, safe and proud of myself later?”
c) Food and drink – 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 – As we finally stagger through the final stages of this 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. New Year resolutions are actually a sneaky way of declaring how little you love yourself just the way you are. Luckily they’re mostly forgotten by mid-January anyway.
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.”
It’s mid-November now and we’re about to enter this Tunnel of Triggers. 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 thinking 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?
How can you apply it?
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.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE
If you want support to learn how to love yourself and listen to your own inner Truth, I’ve decided to offer my six week Find Your Truth course ONLINE over this season for all the reasons I’ve stated above.
In a small supportive group space, we will learn powerful methods to make self-loving choices so that this becomes a time of empowerment and joy with yourself.
We start on 23 November so you have weekly support through Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Then we will set intentions and take a break over Christmas and New Year and have a final review and check in session on 4 January.
This six-week experience has been a powerful transformative tool for previous participants and I’ve considered taking it online for a while. I suddenly realized this is a good time to offer it.
I’m offering it at a reduced rate to celebrate its launch.
Click here for more details or to sign up. Spaces are limited as I prefer a small group size. So don’t wait too long to book.
Wishing you self-love this season.
In love and light
PS My book If You Loved Yourself, What Would You Do Now? will also support you during this time and it makes a good gift for friends who want to learn how to love themselves and follow their heart’s Truth.
Available on Amazon or directly from me.