Ho Ho Woah

We are in full holiday season!

The holidays can be joyous. And overall they generally are. They are filled with wonderful scents, many a laugh, many a song… and lots of raging guilt and abuse from family, friends or, even sometimes, self inflicted.

The holidays are meant to be shared with the people you love. And, if you have one, you love your family (or family of friends). Which means you should be with them.

But sometimes the judgment and overall dynamics of underlying drama exist. So you think maybe this year you will break off and start a different tradition that is just for you. It’s a good plan but then your mom calls and tells you what you need to bring for dinner… and your dad calls to ask what time you are arriving… and your grandma calls to make sure that you will be there… and your aunt calls… and your cousin calls… and your uncle calls… and you implode from the pressure!!

Or you don’t have any “family” and all of that internal pressure of doing things right and as they should be gets put on you by you. That’s just a bundle of fun!

Why are the holidays so hard?

Well, society as a whole makes you feel like you aren’t where you should be in life, career, or love. You haven’t purchased the right things to show how good, happy, and successful you are. Your body is not in the right shape because you have the wrong priorities. All of these judgments… All of this pain... gets you stuck in The Shoulds.

I should spend more time with my family. I should have saved more money this year. I should change my life for next year. I should work less. I should work more… I should eat less… I should be exercising more. I should… I need to... I have to… I should… stop it!

Go on beating yourself up! Go on making comparisons to other people! Go on feeling judged by people who really don’t make a difference with your overall life and happiness!

Or… change your life and your dynamics.

How do you do that?

  • Take all of these terms out of your vocabulary that are damaging and stress-inducing.
  • Replace them with empowered statements because you want to feel like you own and control your own existence
  • Make choices that are right for you rather than living in obligation and resentment

I want to… I get to… I’m doing this… because you are living this life in the manner of which you want. You make decisions that are right for you. You live for yourself first and others second. Your only obligation is to make sure that your values are held to and your needs are met. Because self care does not make you selfish!

Being a hermit never helped anyone so I'm not advocating avoiding family and friends during this season. And trust me, I know it is that much harder with the political and cultural state we are in right now (on all sides).

What I’m encouraging you to do is have a foundation strong enough that when weapons of mass internal destruction get thrown in your direction you’re flexible enough to pull a Matrix dive and avoid getting hit! Know who you are so you don’t falter when someone says something different. Don’t get frustrated by ignorance or impropriety because that’s just “The Shoulds” rearing their ugly head. Celebrate that you are strong and amazing and (hopefully) have amazing people in your life. And Live in the “cans” because you can have the best life if that is really what you want.

Whatever this time of year is for you… happy, sad, frustrating, lovely, ambiguous… and whatever your level of dysfunction is in your family dynamic is (every family has drama)... use it as a time for self reflection and care.

Heather Kohos