I was just sitting here thinking about the holidays and how it’s possible to have completely opposite feelings about the very same thing. For example, you may love to watch the falling snow and yet despite the cold weather or having to take the dogs out in it.
Social situations also tend to bring these kinds of conflicting feelings to the forefront. There may be one part of you that really wants to go to that party or out to dinner with a friend, and yet another part of you really just wants to be snuggled in a warm blanket on your couch watching a good movie all by yourself.
I often have these opposite feelings about the holidays.
Part of me loves all the Christmas lights. I get excited about decorating the house and putting up a Christmas tree. I enjoy hosting get-togethers, being surrounded by friends and family, and marveling at how the whole world seems to look for, and find, joy and kindness and love this time of year. It just feels different..
But as much as there is to love about this time of year, the other part of me gets tremendous anxiety as I strive to make everything perfect and spread the magic. I also find myself grieving the loss of family and loved ones who are either no longer with us or who now live far away. I am usually exhausted by all the busyness that comes with parties and having company in my home and I struggle with meeting my self-imposed expectations.
Sometimes these opposing feelings leave me so conflicted, I even ponder completely avoiding the holiday season festivities altogether. It creates in me a lot of self-criticism and judgment that keeps me from truly being present, and just being present is the real secret to managing the holiday stress.
I know it’s easier said than done, but I do hope this season you give yourself permission to just be present. Experience all that comes with the holidays and feel all of the feelings, whatever those feelings may be.
And from my family to yours, I hope you have a happy holiday!