The holidays are fast approaching. As I do every year, I take time to reflect on all the blessings this year has brought me. I also ponder on the challenges, and wonder how I could have reacted to situations differently to trigger better outcomes.
Life is wonderful, but life is also hard at times and often, we make it hard on our own accord.
I recently was reading Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” –-a must read– and fell on a quote that left me pondering. “Much of your pain is self-chosen“. Do you agree? I do.
Tis’ the Season for accountability, folks! How many times over the last year did I create situations that ended up putting me in misery? How much am I to blame for the unhappiness I’m in? My choices, and more specifically how I reacted to things I have not control over, greatly influence my level of happiness. It’s a choice. We choose the reaction we have when facing the obstacles put in our way. Negative emotions are the reason we close up. We try to protect ourselves against pain, get desensitized and become a bunch of little grinches in the process. Or we hide behind constant optimism and positivity.
Pain, fear and sadness, like every other emotion, have to be felt. You have to allow yourself to live those feelings and recognize them for what they are– a tool to recovery. Repressing them will only hinder your process. How else are we supposed to appreciate the good times without surviving the hard times?
This holiday season, I invite you to let yourself live your emotions, good or bad.
Lost a loved one? Allow yourself to cry it out. Go on a 2 day ice cream binge while you watch movies and take screaming fits in between. You don’t have to be calm, cool and collected. Death hurts and allowing yourself to live that pain, and only that pain, will help you get back on your feet quicker. I’m not suggesting you’re not going to to feel miserable for a while, but at least, you will get it out of your system, which is healthy.
In turn, feeling all emotions will help open up your heart. Pay attention to the feelings that you experience. Bathe in compassion, sympathize with others, even when they have a different opinion on things. When gathering with family over the Holidays, don’t let politics or religion get in the way. If those topics surface, change the channel. You don’t have to discuss things that create conflict. Find common ground and focus on it. We all have things in common. Unite on your similarities.
But more than that, extend this to all people. Go out of your way to be a sunshine to those around you. When checking out at the grocery store, tell the cashier what a fabulous job they are doing. Take a minute to tell your pharmacist that they are valued and important to you. Send an email to your insurance guy thanking him for the great service he’s given you. Call your mom to let her know that you know the sacrifices she’s done for you.
And most importantly, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything, just for the month of December. It may seem like a difficult task but right here, right now, the world needs it.