For some, the holiday season (Christmas, Kwansaa, Hanukkah, Omisoka, Yule…) is the loneliest, most difficult time of year.
Others find it the most challenging and emotionally charged.
Some put on a brave face , straining under the burden of pretending they’re ok.
Do you present to the world someone different to how you feel?
Are you faking someone that’s not your truth?
I mean, you’ve seen all the social media and everyone else’s happy, right, leading great lives, so you wouldn’t want to feel like a solitary failure at happiness, would you??!
At that family gathering you’re gearing yourself up for everyone’s a success but you, right?
Wrong. Of course. Wrong.
THE TALKING WAY
We all know this, but we still need reminding. We all know that there’s no such thing as a life without challenges, ups and downs. We all know that social media is a performance and façade 99% of the time.
Taking about how you’re feeling with someone you trust, someone who listens, can be very cathartic and positive. It allows us to feel less alone and less isolated. The danger is when, in talking about how we’re feeling, we reinforce our patterns and beliefs that don’t serve us. We increase our body and brain’s addiction to the chemicals which are those ‘survival’ emotions (blame, shame, guilt, anxiety, stress, worry, anger etc). We’re setting ourselves up for more of what we don’t want!
I’m not saying don’t talk about what’s going on for you. Of course not! I’m just suggesting that we pay attention and stay mindful, and don’t get caught up in internal drama or run on autopilot.
We all know how that happens, don’t we? We’ve all experienced it - we complain and moan. We blame and feel like powerless victims of circumstance. It feels pretty good at the time but then we feel worse afterwards? We end up feeling more angry, bitter, blaming, powerless, guilty or whatever…
Can you relate?
So, pretending to be someone or something we’re not is exhausting. That’s not the way to go.
Pretending to feel differently to how we feel inside is a horrible burden. That’s not the way to go either.
Pretending everything’s peachy when it’s not is soul-destroying. DEFINITELY not the way to go.
The holiday season seems to bring out extremes in feelings and behaviour. Here are some ideas to help you negotiate this conundrum and, you never know, maybe even thrive!
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE?
When you’re presenting a different version of yourself on the outside than you’re feeling on the inside, ask yourself these questions:
- what am I trying to hide?
- why am I trying to hide it?
- what am I choosing to believe about myself or the world which makes me feel ashamed of presenting the ‘real me’ as I see/feel ‘me’?
When we truthfully answer these questions we’re on the road to taking the power out of the beliefs which have led us into this uncomfortable pickle to begin with! We have the opportunity to examine our beliefs and the identity we’ve created and decide whether they serve us.
Yes, your answers to the above questions are beliefs. They’re perceptions you accepted as the truth at some point. They became your truth because of the law of coherence. Our beliefs prompt our choices. Our choices inform our behaviour. Our behaviour leads to our experience. Our experience reinforces the original belief. And so the cycle continues.
Once you’ve answered the above questions for yourself, ask yourself (à la Byron Katie):
- who am I when I choose to believe that? (Feel your way into this.)
- who am I without that belief? (Feel your way into this.)
- now, which do I choose?
Change your beliefs and perceptions, and your experience of life changes.
Sound simple? It is. Easy, it is not. (I kind of like that that sounded like Yoda!)
QUIT WITH THE ‘PERFECTION’ THING
A different approach, recommended by Dr. David R. Hawkins, is to fully and openly admit all your perceived flaws and faults to yourself.
Now I admit, when I first heard Dr Hawkins describe this approach I was surprised by it. It’s so different from what we’re generally taught. I was resistant to it. Having said that I have personally used it at various times and found it extremely effective. Why? In admitting our perceived flaws we’re not resisting them! We’re not hiding anything from ourselves anymore. We accept that we’re not “perfect” (whatever that means!), and that’s ok! So…
I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m lazy, I’m miserable, I’m not where I wanted to be in life, I’m stupid, I’m too old, I’m fat, I’m poor, everything’s my fault, I make dumb decisions, I eat all the wrong stuff, I’m so unfit…
Get it all out! If you don’t laugh at the silliness behind those announced beliefs you’ll at least take the power out of them, because the power lies in the shame (or other emotional charge) behind it. The burden and pain lies in the non-acceptance of it.
Does holding these beliefs mean they’re true? NO! But on some level, you’ve accepted them as your truth. On some level, you identify with them. If you didn’t, there wouldn’t be an issue at all.
We’re all human. We all believe messed-up stuff about ourselves. We’re all deeply flawed and deeply perfect, depending on how you choose to look at it! The problems occur if we give power to the beliefs through shame, guilt, blame, self-blame and a host of other self-sabotaging emotions.
So having admitted your beliefs about yourself to yourself, the question to ask yourself then is: SO WHAT?! OK, so I’m a failure. So what? I’m ugly. So what? I’m lazy, unworthy, too old, poor, unfit, fat… SO WHAT?! So. What?
Even as I write this I feel a sense of rising mirth at the ridiculousness of it. Do you?
So, how about quitting this messed up ‘perfection thing’? How about relaxing and not taking ourselves so damned seriously? How about stopping that self-abuse?
It makes sense to me.
This stuff can be tricky to shift. Get in touch to explore getting support.
If you’d like to receive Sally’s FREE weekly newsletter, please sign up here.
If you’d like to receive notification of upcoming webinars hosted by Sally, please sign up here.