Yes, I wish you courage for the holidays! Does that surprise you? Well, courage can help guide you safely through end-of-year pressures, so that you use your time wisely and well.
Courage is a fundamental heart-based time tool. What you care about most deeply, you safeguard with assertiveness. And your presence of mind is strengthened when you are rooted in your core values.
So don’t allow yourself be swallowed up by the holiday whirlwind, only to be spit out in January, exhausted and on edge! See how walking with a wise heart opens new, fresh paths for you.
Here are several reasons why I consider courage to be one of the finest holiday gifts you can craft for yourself:
- Courage is at its heart proactive. You enter the tumult of the holidays with a clear sense of your worth. Your health and peace of mind are important to you. So you commit to safeguard these in the face of countless invitations, temptations and demands. Creating a vivid picture of your own choices in advance provides valuable perspective and fuels assertiveness.
- Courage enables you to respect the wide range of associations people hold about the holidays while keeping your own priorities and perceptions intact. Heart-based means you reach out in genuine, caring ways. Your authenticity and realism take precedence over symbolic gestures that could leave you overextended.
For example, you can’t make or break loved ones’ holidays by your choice of gifts, no matter how exhaustively you search. Accepting this in advance can keep you out of long shopping lines. And you
may perseverate less over catalogues that coax you to bust your budget.
You might have also noticed how the “magic of the holidays” can actually regress some of your favorite people into cantankerous caricatures of themselves. No matter how many hours you invest in creating “perfect” holiday treats, friends and family largely create their own levels of satisfaction. By not sentimentalizing the season, you can retain your perspective and your sense of humor, too.
By saying No to wishful thinking and unrealistic fantasies, you increase the likelihood that you will remain centered and accessible. That way, no matter where you travel, you can always be home in your heart for the holidays. And that’s where others will find you.
Lack of assertiveness can protect illusions.
You can learn a lot about yourself if you explore the holiday pastimes you engage in but don’t enjoy. Some “tired traditions” may still recall happy childhood memories. Or they may symbolize idyllic scenes that you wished to be part of. But if the actual events leave you downcast or depleted, consider rewriting your script!
If you find yourself reluctant to go, but reluctant to say No, ask yourself:
- What outcome do you anticipate?
- How does this compare to past times?
- If you feel “tied” to these events, what cord connects you?
- How does it feel to untie it and walk away?
- What might you do with your time instead?
If you enjoy rituals, consider developing a new one. You can use the time you have freed up to explore fresh possibilities.
- What sounds stimulating or restorative?
- What activities would provide balance to your current schedule?
- Envision a few options. What images are most satisfying?
When rewarding rituals align with your present values, you will feel more grounded and satisfied.
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.