I think one of the reasons that the holidays bring both joy and stress to our lives is that it is the one time of the year when even the Scroogest of us finds some kernal of emotion to chew on for a few months. Some of those emotions are based on anticipation of reuniting with families and friends (and of course, giving or receiving gifts), some are emotions based on past holiday experiences. Those emotions are good or bad (we can remember holiday scenes which evoke sadness or anticipate the holiday future with dread as much as joy). And most times, there are conflicting emotions (such as, for many of us, when we enjoy the season but hold a small pain of loss in our hearts for those who have passed on).
To me, the reason emotions take such a hold on us during this time of the year is that we celebrate the ending of things, the beginning of things and things which live beyond time. Indeed, the holiday season reminds us that what is permanent in us is not what we hold on to, but what we break through to become. And a lot of the negative emotions we feel are come from our own feelings of inadequacy or inablity to change.
Therefore, when you invite your friends or your relatives or your memories to your holiday table, don’t forget to invite someone who you most likely have neglected these past eleven months: yourself. We all spend too much time criticizing ourselves for what we should be doing or should have done or who we are or who we aren’t. Take a break this season and offer yourself the simple gift of redemption for the coming year. Acknowledge, if only for a moment, that under these holiday lights, everything about you is OK. And, since your future hasn’t happened yet, that’s OK too. So the only thing can prevent you from who you want to be is the boulder of negative thoughts of yourself you carry around that gets heavier with every year. Invite yourself the opportunity to stop the internal critic, set the boulder down and walk confidently into the new year.
Now there’s something to celebrate.