I have been doing dialogues with myself, and have had some quite startling realizations. It is clearly a very powerful tool![ Randy A ] >
December Newsletter[ Dec 2, 2011 ]
DON'T BE A SUPPOSED TO CHILD FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Raise your hand if you think the holidays bring out the best and worst in us. It always seems that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, the year seems to circle the drain at breakneck speed. So much to do — so little time. The lives of past holidays flash before our eyes as we try to focus on creating the best year yet. But who doesn’t love the parties, the family get-togethers, the search for the perfect gift, getting the decorations up before Christmas Eve, the midnight cooking and cleaning, all to the soundtrack of endless holiday music.The truth is, we don’t all love it. Or perhaps we have a love/hate relationship with it. I would guess in the order of total level of enjoyment — at the front of the line would be children and grandparents, followed by young singles and couples, followed by older families, singles and couples, and bringing up the rear would be the one who feels they have to put the whole thing together. Often, the level of enjoyment is directly related to the level of perceived responsibility. Are we making everybody happy? And to the extent we see responsibility as an obligation, the holidays can become one big “supposed-to” jamboree.
Hence, the enormous proliferation of articles about holiday stress on the Internet. On Google, there are close to 75 million results on heading off stress for the holidays. Granted, stress management articles are full of wonderful advice about how to relax and stay healthy, manage expectations, avoid depression, loneliness, exhaustion, financial ruin. But you really have to wonder, what do we imagine we’re gearing up for here? The Amazing Race? Scaling Mt Kilimanjaro? The Iditarod? What is everyone so stressed about and how can we save them??!! Is it too late to save ourselves??!!
Are you a “supposed-to” child?
Holidays are meant to be about inclusion, nourishment, affirmation, enjoyment, relationships, family values and love, love, love. For some, it’s our favorite time of year. We respond to what seems like a universal (albeit largely commercial) call to dive into the zeitgeist of the season — to allow ourselves to be pulled into the tide of love and good will. Whether you’re focused on the “holy days” aspect of the season or the more secular expressions, it’s also a time when the collective beliefs of our culture about everything we hold dear to our happiness come into play. Not too much pressure. No wonder so many of us wake up to that silent inner scream right after Halloween that doesn’t dissipate till the New Year.
Depending on our viewpoint, we see the holidays as a joyous invitation or a mighty dose of societal pressure. Often, along with that clarion call to participate come the perceived expectations, rules, demands and obligations — the holiday supposed-to’s. Sometimes the biggest supposed-to of all is related to happiness. Holidays are one of those times of the year when we most consider ourselves responsible for the happiness of others. Are we creating the magic of the holidays for our kids? Are we creating wonderful memories for them — like we have or wished we had? What about friends and family? Did we pick the right gifts? Did we forget anyone? Did we mail our cards and packages on time? Did we plan the perfect meals? Did we make the house look festive enough? Did we contribute to the local food bank? Did we do our part to uphold the holiday spirit?
What if the holidays are really just like every other day of our lives, amplified to the nth degree? If we live our lives driven by what we’re supposed to do, instead of what we’d love to do, chances are we’ll approach the holidays in the same way. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the impending festivities, take a moment to recalibrate by separating your supposed-to’s from your love-to’s.
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Join Wendy Dolber Monday, December 5th at 7:30 pm for a free one-hour ExploreOption Get Started teleconference. These monthly calls are designed to acquaint you with our programs and provide an overview of The Option Method. This month Wendy will work live with anyone who would like to experience an Option Method Dialogue. To register, go to our Events page. When you click on [register] you will be taken to Eventbrite.com where you can sign up for any call through the end of 2011.