Make the holidays about YOU (& why it's better to do what you WANT, not what you HAVE to)
You know how we’re always told that holidays are about giving, caring, and doing for others? Well...I think that’s total crap.
Before you go thinking I’m a miserly scrooge, let me explain. I think it’s fabulous to care about other people, and even better to actually show others how much by giving graciously. I really do. It’s a value I hope I’m instilling in my daughter.
But when you operate your life (or at least the holiday season) based on the principle that you must always be giving or doing for others, you burn out...fast.
You feel stressed to squeeze every holiday activity into your schedule so you can prove to yourself and everyone else that you have a perfect family and a perfect life. All while neglecting your own care (which is a big no-no if you're trying to free yourself of emotional pain).
Burnout comes from giving out of OBLIGATION instead of LOVE.
That sense of obligation —“because society says so”— comes from fear. Fear of not fitting in, fear of not being liked, fear of being left out.
So, exchanging gifts with the friend you’re not very close to becomes a chore to check off your to-do list or else you risk being judged and talked about. Baking a homemade meal for your family’s get-together becomes a dreaded task you must manage or else you risk being considered selfish and lazy.
Fortunately, there’s better way to handle the holiday goings-on.
Before you commit to anything (at any time of the year, not just during the holidays), ask yourself these two questions:
1. Do I really WANT to?
2. Can I do this activity with LOVE?
If you answer no to either of these questions, then bow out of the activity. Don't exchange gifts with every student in your kids' classes. Don't make that holiday craft you searched forever for on Pinterest.
Because at the end of the day, if you don't approach activities with love and joy, you begrudge every moment you’re involved in it.
Essentially, without consciously choosing to participate through love, you end up feeling frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, and probably anxious. And everyone around you senses that heavy energy—especially your kids and family.
That’s why you must answer those two questions before you make an appetizer for the neighborhood holiday party. Before you mail Christmas cards. Before you agree to meet up with friends for a holiday dinner.
The holidays AREN’T about giving, giving, giving. They’re about being mindful and aware of our true desires and giving out of the goodness and love that exists in our hearts. Not obligation.
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