Thursday, December 8, 2011

expectations & the holiday season

The holiday season is now upon us once again. Filled with love,
family and reminders of how precious life is, this season also comes
with high expectations of self and others.

The gifts we buy, the meals we make, how our homes look, being on
time, being accepted, all while dealing with heightened emotion of
possible failure or rejection.

For those of us who have lost someone, sadness mounts. Any past
painful memories of this month return with full force in our
vulnerable moment, sweeping off our feet and center.

So what can we do? How do we make it through? Some of us want to run
away, some stay home and away from family, some are being overtaken by
grief while others work hard to prove themselves.... stop.

If you need to just run
-take a deep breath and list what you want to do. Don't decide you
are not capable, write it down, look at it. See what you can
eliminate and how you can complete all your obligations and gift
lists. Sure holiday supper can be put on paper plates, why not? No
your home does not have to be decorated properly! Yes, you can stay
on budget and by doing this it does not make you cheap, less of a
parent, friend or partner.

If you want to just stay away from family
- it is one day, for some maybe longer. Remember you are all adults
now (even if they don't seem to treat you like one). Go without
expectations for anything to change and prepare yourself for the
'usual' but go in treating them as the adults they are (the kindness
of a stranger works to..... especially for those you have a problem
with, why does this work? because it is easy to treat them with
kindness if we act in our heads like we have never met them)
- If the meal is in your home, do all your prep before family comes,
make it simple and efficient so you can handle it. It does not matter
what the family expects, you are the host, it is your home and you
have been generous enough to welcome them into it. They are on your
turf by your invitation, remember this.
- When it come to small talk know you can always remove yourself from
a conversation. Go to the bathroom, then hide out in the kitchen for
a bit. If you feel cornered, excuse yourself. You can do this and it
is not rude, even with family. Just because you are related or grew
up with people doesn't give them more power than others, unless we
choose to.

If family is staying with you or you with them. Remember to not
change what you would normally do. Do not be selfish or impede on
their time or space (if you are their guest) but do not feel you have
anyone else's standards to live up to but your own. Yes, if you are a
guest always leave things as they were and clean up after yourself,
that should go without saying. If you have guests and they do not do
this, don't invite them back, yes, this is also your right even with

Sure I do know this stuff is easier said than done but if you are
ready to feel less stress you will try it.

Grief...... this one is my specialty in Dec for my run of grief goes
from Dec 5th to the 31.....

How does one handle past lost during this time. It is not easy, not
at all. During a time we want to be happy or we want our loved ones
there, they are not. How do we blend the two?

Give yourself permission to feel both emotions. You can be happy and
joyful while feeling sad and destroyed. Yes, we can feel more than
one thing at a time.

Take time to reflect and 'visit' with your loved one. Even if you
can't 'feel' them there, talk to them out loud, or in your mind, so
you acknowledge your loss. No, this does not bring them back, No, it
won't make it all better, and yes, it will make you feel but it will
be worth feeling they are there in some way. Allow yourself to cry,
it is okay.

Proving yourself ~ now is not the time to decide others must know who
you are. Really this is not the time. When we feel the need to prove
ourselves it is because we feel we have not lived up to another's
expectations of us. We are not all adults, what is past is past. Do
not let your ego tell you this is the time to discuss anything you
think others wish to know. Most of all listen to yourself, if you
need to talk it out it is you who should be listening to you. These
emotions are evoked because we have not feel heard or feel forgotten,
so listen to you. Take time to think it through and listen to you if
your insecurity hits while you are in the presence of others. Don't
ignore you to. Others do not need to hear all about your stress
during the family supper. This is a time for small talk, to catch up
and just to have fun. If you have someone who is trying to prove
themselves to you, tell them, "I hear you. Let's meet and talk this
out another time." whether you mean it or not, it is the right thing
to say. White lies can be so important during this time. Do not use
honesty like a knife to get your point across, it is not worth it.
The statement I hear you, squashes their need to be heard, planning to
make a date later (you don't have to follow through if you don't want
to) allows them to feel vindicated for the moment allowing you to make
it through the day together.

Above all try not to have an expectation before you start out. It is
going to be what it is. You are loved (although you may feel judged)
most if not all of these people love you, although you may not feel
they show it, decide and choose to let it be enough.

Look at your home, be grateful for what you have. It is not about the
gifts you give, it really isn't. If your season has become about the
gifts, time to change that. This is not a time for kids and teens to
'cash in'. This is a time to do your best, stick in your budget and
know what you get is enough. This is when you really need you so
don't let your ego become the one who controls the spending, bring
reality into play.

You know, I really don't know to many people who wish to be around
their family at this time even though we wish we did feel that way, so
let's all give it our best, fake it til we make it, enjoy our oddly
wrapped gifts, which may not be the perfect gift, know we belong where
ever we are because at least we have ourselves there :) And most of
us, know we will never regret making the effort, living up to only our
expectations, and respecting how much we love ourselves and those we
have chosen to place in our lives during this time.

*hugs* and enjoy your holiday :) AuKeeRa

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