For many of us Christmas is a time of celebration, joy, family fun, connection and happiness.
For others, however, it is a time of stress and anxiety, when we try to keep everyone happy, be all things to all people and pretend that everything is fine! This is certainly how Christmas was for me for many years. I’m so glad that it’s now different and I can enjoy Christmas in my own way.
Christmas can make us feel under pressure to smile and play ‘happy families’ and is a typical example of a time when denying our true feelings and emotions can lead to stress, arguments and ill health.
So, what can we do that will enable us to enjoy Christmas for what it is and for what it means to us, without all the angst?
We can be honest about our feelings and say what we want, we can respect the choices of others, we can be creative, collaborate and come up with a plan which suits us all.
It’s sad that, at a time which is supposed to be joyful, there is so much pressure from our society, our peers, our family, friends and, in fact, CHIEFLY OURSELVES to suppress our true feelings, needs, wants and desires in order to fit in, make others happy and even to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.
We may think that by hiding our true feelings we can please others or keep the peace. Unfortunately, although we might think we’re pacifying our partners, parents or kids with our words, our non-verbal communication (the intonation of our words, our body language and our emotional energy) tells a different story and our hidden disappointment, frustration and sadness is communicated whether we realise it or not!
To add to the situation our partners, parents or kids often then feel anxious or agitated as they sense the incongruence between our words and our body language. This is the recipe for misunderstandings, arguments and even illness.
If we deny our true feelings, they often intensify and affect us in more destructive ways. If we internalize our emotions, we may become despondent and even ill; if we externalize our unexpressed emotions, we may become belligerent or sarcastic.
Christmas does not create family strife – it’s already there lurking beneath the surface.
Ironically, if only we can be honest with ourselves, we can respond to our emotions in the moment and work with them effectively.
1. Listen to our true feelings and be honest about what we want and how we want to spend Christmas.
2. Use healthy anger to say what doesn’t feel right for us.
3. Share our sadness at the lack of the presence of a loved one that we are missing at this time.
4. Respect and be compassionate about the desires, wants and needs of our family and friends.
When we can be honest about our true desires and listen and respect the desires of others, then and only then can we collaborate in an authentic way and make choices which can be enjoyed by all.
Christmas does not create family strife – it’s already there lurking beneath the surface. Christmas can simply bring these unconscious patterns into the light and provide an opening and an opportunity to see these challenges for what they truly are – so that we can resolve them!
The icing on the cake is that not only can we enjoy a more harmonious Christmas, but we can create a way of being which will enhance every other moment of our life.
My wish for you this Christmastime is that you listen to your true feelings and respond to them, respect the desires of others and collaborate with your family and friends – so that, rather than playing ‘happy families’ you can have an authentically joyous time.
If that sounds too good to be true, I can resonate! There was a time when it seemed a far-fetched idea for me too. However, I now authentically enjoy Christmas and if you would like support to do that too do get in touch.