For many, the holidays can be lonely, bring feelings of sadness or be a reminder of financial or health problems. Not everyone is surrounded by large, functional and happy families like the ones we we see in those Old Navy commercials. To the millions of Americans suffering financially this season or worried about their job, stretching a tight budget to accommodate for Christmas gifts and hosting Thanksgiving dinners can create added stress rather than enjoyment. For anyone who has suffered a big loss (for me, it is my father), holidays remind you of how they will never be the same as they once were.
Additionally, the modern day commercialized holiday season continues to completely disconnected us from the real meaning of these holidays even further. Turn on the t.v. at any given time and it's all about Santa Claus, Black Friday and hosting a perfect dinner party to Martha Stewarts' standards. Holidays can sometimes create friction and family divide. And I am sure my generation and younger is too busy instagramming to actually connect, causing even more of a divide. Often, with priorities focused on all the wrong places, disappointment follows as a reminder of what is really important.
You know what? We could all stand to re-evaluate our attitude towards this Holiday. None of us have the right to pity ourselves when we have the same power and choice to feel good about ourselves- in any situation. Why choose sadness? Why choose to surround yourself with negative people this Holiday when you're ready to rise above it? Why wish for something different when when you can act? The person we see each morning is more or less the result of our life decisions- in relationships, financially and in health. Circumstances that challenge us aren't "bad luck" or misfortune- they're all opportunities that are meant for us to find out what we're really made of. I can understand that it's hard for everyone to see it this way though, because sometimes life does just seem unfair.
In contrast, we forget that we should be grateful for the strength, courage and determination that has made us who we are today. We forget to be grateful to the people who've helped us become who we are. We don't celebrate life's little triumphs nearly enough- we often wait for holidays to do that. We take for granted the little things in life that are missed the most when they're gone. For all of the little achievements and big successes you've worked hard for this year, give yourself a pat on the back. You earned it. Celebrate.
I want to share a little paragraph from one of my favorite books that really resonates with me. I am hopeful that any sadness, loneliness or problems you may be facing this Holiday can be overcome by a simple mind shift. Everything changed for me once I started to make decisions and live according to this understanding:
"Every action taken by human beings is based in love or fear, not simply those dealing with relationships. Decisions affecting business, industry, politics, religion, the education of our young, the social agenda of your nations, the economic goals of your society, choices involving war, peace, attack, defense, aggression, submission, determinations to covet or give away, to save or to share, to unite or divide- every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are: a thought of love or a thought of fear." -NDW
We make our choices out of only two emotional feelings: either fear or love, and the definitions of the two words are not what our English dictionary limits us to. Love is the energy that reveals, opens up, shares, heals, expands and connects us all. Fear the energy that closes us down, draws us in, runs, hides, hoards and harms. All of our decisions are made out of one or the other, and nothing in between.
This Holiday Season, I hope you will share more love, and remember why we should be celebrating. Be conscious of decisions you're making out of fear. Remember how to really connect deeply with old and new friends, share everything you have, heal a broken heart, help those less fortunate to realize their opportunity, offer the greatest gift you can give: your time. Do this and I promise you won't be disappointed this Holiday.