‘Tis the season for family, reflection and beautiful star-lit silent nights.
‘Tis also the season to reassess what has value for you.
What is working in your life?
What feels stagnant and stuck?
Are you excited about your life?
What do you want to change?
When we review, we also come to some conclusions which may cause a family upset or disappointment. When I was a kid, I very much disliked how much football my family watched with the men in one room, and the women in the other. This was just a standard part of the holiday. In time, I chose to stop going to those gatherings to honor myself and what I needed.
I set a boundary for me.
Maybe for you it’s attending less events fueled by alcohol or sugary sweets. It can feel really hard to avoid libations and sweet treats in our culture this time of year. So how can you manage yourself? Not go to those events? Stay for an hour then look for other events that are more about community and less about certain substances?
These considerations are gifts I want you to give to yourself.
- G – Give yourself permission to choose a better experience
- I – Involve yourself with those who bring you joy and ease
- F – Freedom to choose again if you realize you need something else
- T – True to yourself, choosing what works for you and knowing what doesn’t
There are a lot of expectations around the holidays. So much pressure is placed on everything being just right that the true meaning of the holiday season becomes overshadowed. And what just right means is so vastly different to each of us.
Expectations may be tied up with pretty ribbons and bows as family traditions that now feel out dated or unimportant. When we begin to understand that our expectations may be unattainable or that we even have the right to dream into a better holiday experience, more space can arrive for new possibilities. Sometimes this means assessing for yourself what a better holiday experience looks like, and then giving yourself permission to say no to some events or requests and make changes for yourself.
And that, my dear, is perfectly acceptable.
Do you want to give gifts? Give cards? Give cookies? Give of your time? Give of your home?
If not, can you accept that truth for yourself without judgment? And know that you are enough in that decision?
If at first setting boundaries creates the idea that your needs are more important than others, look again. With a reframed second view, try this on – boundaries actually helps us to be more at ease when we know what we want to have as our experience.
If the same tradition of going to Aunt Helen’s to spend the day with the TV blaring a football game and minimal connection makes you angry – choose again! A boundary for you means you will not be agitated or upset with how others choose to spend their holiday festivities.
Choose again and set a boundary to decline travel if getting on a plane during the winter months when airlines are overbooked and employees are overworked isn’t what you want or need.
Most importantly, give yourself the gift of slowing down and take a few moments (or many) to catch your breath, reflect on the gifts of 2019 and the new choices you can create for yourself going into 2020.