The holidays have arrived! I can’t believe it is already the week of Christmas and so many others have expressed this very same feeling.
During this time of year, I always feel compelled to share a word of encouragement. Many people watch a HallmarkTM movie and observe the family in the movie, sitting by the tree, drinking hot chocolate, opening numerous, expensive gifts, with everyone loving each moment. Unfortunately, this is often not the case for the majority of people I know.
Honestly, I have yet to find a family that lives up to this perfect holiday portrayal. Instead, here are some personal thoughts that I hope speak to you right where you are this season. They sure have been helpful for me:
- Sometimes you have to live in reality rather than in what society, media, and HallmarkTM say reality should look like. I find that there is true freedom in bringing truth, expectations, and reality to light. When we allow the expectations to chafe and exist under the surface there will always be room for disappointment and unhappiness. Ain’t no one got time for that! So I encourage you to live as much in reality this season as you can. Talk with your spouse, a friend, or someone about your expectations to ensure that they are realistic and that you have support. This will keep disappointment and unhappiness away in a season that is full of joy. Set your own expectations for yourself, because those you can meet!
- You don’t always have to accept what is offered to you and I don’t mean an appetizer or cookie. I believe that many times when we are around family and friends they have things they might believe, things they might say, or things they feel are true about us. It is completely up to you to decide what you receive and what you believe as true. I have many people as well as family in my life, that have developed beliefs about me as a person. They tend to want to share those with me (incessantly) especially over the holidays. It isn’t always easy but I always stop and ask myself if what they are saying is true or if it is something I want to accept as part of who I am. Most of the time, the answer to that question is a resounding, “no!”. People tend to make judgments based on their own insecurities, assumptions, and wounds, rather than on what is truly happening or who I really am. So take a second to ask yourself what you are receiving and ask yourself if it lines up with what you feel in your guts to be true.
- This thought is the biggest piece that I felt led to share. Many families spend a great deal of time trying to mold and shape us into something or someone only to turn around and criticize that exact characteristic once it is evident in our lives. I was talking with a friend recently and this very realization hit me. She told me how her parents raised her to be independent, to think for herself, and to make decisions based upon her convictions. All good right? Now that she has to go home for the holidays (or any other time she visits) they tend to give her grief about being opinionated, determined, and led by her convictions. The very thing they instilled in her is the very thing they criticize her for today. I began to think about the many family situations where this scenario plays itself out for many individuals I know as well as myself. My family always taught me to make something of myself and to get an education, but now those characteristics seem to be the items they scrutinize and criticize most. I have decided that this is not something I will accept. I am the best version of me and I am that version because of the values, wisdom, convictions, and hard work I was taught to exhibit. There will be no apologies for that.
Overall, I know that the holidays can bring a range of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The key is to trust your gut, listen to it, and know who you are. These things cannot be taken from you and will carry you well into the New Year. I pray peace, joy, and blessing to you and yours into the upcoming season and New Year. We are honored to share life with each of our clients and help in any way we can.