So, the mince pies and decorations have been in the shops for weeks. The kids have been writing (and changing) their ‘wish’ list for ages, and you’ve been saving for, purchasing and hiding gifts ready for wrapping all month. The invitations have gone out, Auntie Flo has been looking forward to spending the day with you for months, the crackers are standing by, ready to delight you with their witty jokes and tasteful gifts, and you’re all set for the perfect Christmas, right? Probably not. How has this all got so out of hand? Where did all this pressure to make everything so perfect come from?
With Christmas starting earlier each year, the expectations grow with the build-up, and everybody else seems to be enjoying the process – so how come you don’t feel overly excited? How come the only emotion you’re feeling right now is panic and overwhelm? Why are you the only one that isn’t looking forward to it? Well the answer is, you’re not alone.
After all those weeks (months?) of anticipation & planning, if things don’t pan out how you expected or wanted them to, it’s no surprise that big disappointments and tensions ensue. We’re all expected to be endowed with some sort of magic ‘happy dust’ at Christmas. Be Happy and Joyful! It’s obligatory, it seems. But why do we believe that someone who can’t normally stand the sight of another family member will somehow grow to love them, and enjoy their company on that one special day of the year? Why do we think that somebody who is normally grumpy or selfish will be happy and full of bonhomie just because it’s Christmas? Is there a magic fairy somewhere that can give them a personality transplant for the day? Will they be helpful, engaging, pleasant, just because it’s 25 December? Probably not.
And how can we be filled with joy if we can’t afford that ridiculously expensive present they’ve been hinting at all year? How will it look on Christmas day if you don’t give them what they want, instead of what you can afford? What will the reaction be? Complete disaster?
So just how much control do you think you’ve got over everybody else? How much can you influence how they may react, or think? The answer is: none. Nothing at all. The only person whose thoughts and actions you can influence is youself. But here’s the good bit. They don’t have any influence over your thoughts, either. So the way you react to how others treat you, or talk to you, is entirely up to you. If you choose to let it get you down and worry you, then that’s your choice. But if you decide to rise about it, then that’s your choice too. Nobody else can make you feel anything. It’s up to you how you process your thoughts and reactions.
So, be kind to yourself. You’ve done your best. If that’s not good enough, well, that’s their problem, not yours. If others around you feel the need to grumble, or moan, or fight, then that’s their prerogative. Let them get on with it. Give yourself a pat on the back for making this Christmas the best it can be, given the circumstances you’re in (whatever they are). You’ve given it your best shot, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can do. A friend of mine has a really great philosophy in life – the 80% rule. She says that as long as 80% of the things she wants to achieve are done, to the best of her ability, 80% of the time, then that’s OK. And I think she’s right. None of us are perfect, so live with that, and move on. After all, it’s just another day. So get through it in the best way you know how, and treat yourself to something nice – from you, to you. You deserve it.
Please accept this blog in the spirit in which it is offered. I am intending only to give you some light hearted food for thought here – not reams of indigestible facts that you can find elsewhere all over the internet. If any of the suggestions ring a bell for you – great. This is a simplified version to give you a taster, so if your problem is more serious, and you feel you need more in-depth professional help, please contact me. I can help you identify any underlying issues that may be holding you back, and allow you to kick-start the process of moving you forward again. And of course, if you feel the need to visit your GP please go straight away. NLP, hypnotherapy and counselling are not a substitute for professional medical advice, but a complementary therapy. Thank you for reading this, and I hope to meet you soon.