With the holidays over, it might be a good time to reassess that time. Holidays have a way of bringing up lots of dynamics. They may have been positive or they may have been more difficult. Being with family or being without family can bring up feelings that can make one wonder about whether that “Walton Family Christmas” really happens.
If you are left reeling from a difficult holiday, it would be a good time to do something about it. We are a product of our experiences. We have a choice of how we are going to handle our experiences. If being with family brings up feelings that are hard to deal with, memories of growing up that were less than desirable and/or you find yourself overwhelmed with negative feelings, then it is time to step up to the plate, look at it, and do something about it. We may not have had choices of what we experienced but we have choices in how we handle the experiences. We can heal and grow, or we can remain stagnant, angry, and blaming. We can blame others until we are 85 years old and live in that resentment our whole lives or we can embrace our experiences as opportunities to gain insight into ourselves.
Each of us has “life happenings”. Each of us has a story. It is up to us what we do with the story. Perhaps it is a good time to assess what you think life is about and what you think it should be about. I find that when one is in pain, it is often best to go to the next level and look at this. Do you think life should not happen to you? If so, then you will go through life thinking it was all unfair. Do you think others should make you happy? If so, you will be waiting a long time, because only you, yourself, can fill that emptiness, that void, and make yourself happy. Yes, it is easy to think that if only someone had said just the right thing, or protected us as children, or had given us the perfect gift to let us know that we mattered, then things would be better. But really, all of it would be empty too, because the lesson is to learn how to give it to ourselves, how to love ourselves as we deserve, how to care for ourselves as we deserve, and to be cared about. It is only in doing this that we can give the same lovingness to another.
So the real challenge is to look at each of the issues, the thoughts you are thinking and the experiences you are having, as a mirror, mirroring back to you what you yourself need to do for you. If you feel unloved, then I suggest you look strongly at that. What is it that you need to do to love yourself more? If you are not loving to yourself, the world will not mirror lovingness back to you. If you feel invisible to your family, then look at this issue. Are you taking a place in the world that is invisible, or is it time to step out and claim yourself?
Yes, there is a lot of pain that life can bring us and I challenge you to walk through it, look at it, feel it, and then let it go, move on, having gained more than you ever could have without the experience. Go to your soul and touch it, learn about yourself, and embrace yourself. It is only through that process that you can learn how to be a rock in the midst of the tornadoes. It is how you learn to go to the family holiday events and not be turned inside out, being able to weather them and remain intact with more understanding about who you are and what you are about.
The best part of all of this is that if you miss the opportunity to practice and address this, it will come back again and again, until you get the lesson. If you look at your life and at the patterns that come, you will see that the dynamics that you experience in your extended family also play out in other parts of your life in other relationships. Look at the difficult relationships outside your extended family and ask yourself, “What relationship in my family does this remind me of?” If you start to look at it, you will see many opportunities to work through the pattern, so you don’t have to wait until next Christmas when you see “Uncle Pete” because you are bound to have a similar relationship somewhere in your life playing out on a more frequent basis.
As you start the New Year, I challenge you to look at those patterns and feelings that are no longer serving you and do something about it. Take responsibility for your own happiness and make your life what you want it to be. Only you have the power to do that.Tags: choices during the holidays, give up patterns that are no longer serving you, holiday aftermath, patterns repeat themselves until you get the lesson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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