Embracing an imperfect holiday

The holiday season stirs up a lot of emotion for everyone.

Reading an article the other day about the pressures of conformity over this next few weeks, I realized whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwansaa, Hanukkah, or nothing at all other than perhaps having a few days off of work, many people plan their events around the idea of the “best” or “perfect” holiday.toronto-ice-storm-1-ferit-onurlu-cabbagetown

The reality is that we are far from perfect, and of course, this time of year is fraught with “imperfection”, if we choose to look at it that way. Many of us don’t celebrate in the same ways, so how can we live up to these expectations? Why should we?

Let’s review some “imperfections” in the next week you may encounter:

  • Some of you were born on December 25 or January 1st, and from your point of view I would imagine there is a lot of frustration with not getting all of the attention you deserve because everyone is obsessed with something other than you :)
  • Some of you struggle with sugar addiction or have restrictive diets. The mountains of cookies, chocolate, and candy everywhere are a daily reminder of all of the things you can’t eat, or shouldn’t, and there can be an internal battle until they are all gone in the new year. Perhaps you don’t even like sweets! You might be constantly saying no to the latest batch of things someone has made especially for you.
  • Some of you are afraid to fly, and have to fly to see the people you love. Overcoming fear to get something you need. Or, your flight was cancelled due to weather, so now you need to drive, and you don’t like winter driving.
  • Some of you have lost family members over the year, or even recently, and the changes to your families and yourselves with grieving may have completely changed your holiday. Trying to feel “happy” just may not be realistic, because you are feeling sad/angry/lonely/isolated.
  • Some of you still don’t have power, and your plans have changed radically with the ice storm. You may be seeing the generosity of others, or lack thereof. Not having power  can be a pretty humbling and frustrating experience.

So to review, none of these scenarios really set up any of us for perfection. They are actually the realities of life. Not necessarily good, but not necessarily bad either. They are what they are.

They do however set us up to understand our own humanity, and the fact that all of us will have a holiday experience that is unique, and in its own way, very beautiful.

Try including self-compassion this holiday as part of your plan. Perhaps a little saying like this:

I understand the holidays can be both positive and negative, bringing gifts and challenges.

I know that other people, my own family and friends, acquaintances and even people I don’t know are probably feeling the same way.  I’m not alone in my feelings.

I give myself permission to get some rest, take some time for myself, and to be kind to myself when I am feeling happy, sad, scared, lonely, or not myself. I also give others the same understanding as much as I can.

May I be kind to myself this holiday.

Warm thoughts to you all for any holiday that comes your way.

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