Another Christmas has passed and for some this is the most joyful time of the year but for a lot of us it’s a time filled with anxiety and when it’s over we feel completely drained! I hate every collective holiday! Always have and always will! But today I can deal with it in a more constructive way that doesn’t make me into the worst version of myself I can be… And it’s all about maintaining integrity!
I wish that I could say that I’ve come up with a quick-fix, I haven’t! BUT what I have done is dissected the whole concept of collective holidays. I have gone beyond what they’re named, their obvious and a possible religious meaning, and concluded some aspects that a lot of us struggle with throughout this supposable “joyful time”:
- Expectations – the common denominator for all holidays are a hell of a lot of expectations and even if you in some way have managed to lower your own you’re taken hostage in others.
- Norms – even if we tell ourselves that we are completely free to celebrate those holidays anyway we chose we know it’s a lie. There is a subtle understanding (well sometimes not even subtle) of the do’s and don’ts, and even if you’re strong enough to withstand the traditional ways of celebrating holidays you’ll be faced with so many guilt trips from others that you just might find it easier to conform.
- Hanging out with people you only meet once a year – most likely for a good reason! But all of a sudden you’re supposed to give each other gifts and be all “happy-go-lucky” even though there might be underlying conflicts that in “good-Christmas-spirit” are completely precluded to address.
What all of the above tells me is that the biggest struggle with collective holidays is to maintain integrity! Think about it! How many times have you told yourself that this Christmas you wouldn’t get caught up in the collective stress? Or that this year we keep it low key? How many times have you promised yourself not to hang out with people you don’t like? And be honest to yourself, how many times has it worked? My guess is that you’ve made these promises more times then you’ve fulfilled them…
We allow ourselves to get caught up in the collective idea of expectations and norms. This is why the perception of Christmas varies so much. Some people love the safety traditions and norms serve and some of us feel as if those concepts strangle us. So the problem with collective holidays isn’t the holidays per se, it’s the fact that we loose ourselves. We loose our integrity and that is what causes our anxiety! Not the holidays per se, it’s loosing yourself IN the expectations, norms and people!
So, when the next holiday comes up, don’t just accept that you feel like shit! Don’t let it make you into the worst version of yourself. Don’t let it be a source for anxiety but instead let it be a time for you that you practise keeping your integrity. And that integrity can be kept even though you’re relating to expectations, norms and people!
YOUR INTEGRITY IS YOUR TOOL TO STAY SANE, STAY TRUE, STAY YOU!!! DON’T EVER GIVE IT AWAY!!!