I’ve had some frustrating experiences during the holidays. I’ve put my foot in my mouth. I’ve had to suffer through church programs I really didn’t want to attend and generally do things I wasn’t in the mood for. Then there is the completely demoralizing and exhausting exercise of trying to decide if the “adult kids” should give each other gifts or just draw names. If you don’t know what I’m talk about, just be grateful.
I don’t know what it is about the holidays. Maybe it’s because we often spend time with our parents. Maybe we’re just completely overloaded. For some reason, it always seems easier to feel like the victim or like we don’t have any say. We go along with what other people want to do, begrudgingly, of course. We put up with something, then complain for a day. After all, everyone else is out to ruin what could have been a perfect holiday for us.
Hey, it’s easier to blame everyone else. But it feels terrible. Instead, take ownership of your holidays. Want to do something different this year? Recruit a couple of people to do it with you. Really don’t like one of your traditions? Speak up. Maybe nobody else does either, they just thought you loved it. You might be surprised.
The bottom line is you always have a choice. The next time you start to feel like you “have to” do something, ask yourself, “what are my options?” They won’t always be great. And if your only alternative to going shopping is jumping out of a moving vehicle, I suggest you just go shopping. But it’s still a choice.
As you live more consciously this season, remember to be extra kind to those who are feeling like the holidays are happening to them. They’re not usually jerks. They’re just not usually this stressed out.
This is the final post in the “Beating Holiday Stress” series. In the holiday spirit of giving, Jeff is offering a free class on beating holiday stress at Skillshare.com. The class starts tonight, Dec. 3, 2012! Register Now.