Me? I am almost finished my holiday shopping…we have so many family coming home for Christmas this year for our big dinner…we have the best New Years tickets.
I have to be careful not to let these kinds of comments give me little pangs of insecurity and stress. I have had to talk back quite assertively to the negative self-chatter such as, wow you are going to be stuck in the mall in massive line-ups, again..what’s wrong with you…do you never learn to start early and avoid the panic? This year I have decided to really give myself a break of a mental and emotional nature. I am giving the priceless gift of self-compassion and it is only fair that I share this gift with others.
“Self-compassion is a form of acceptance. Whereas acceptance usually refers to what’s happening to us – accepting a feeling or a thought – self-compassion is acceptance of the person to whom it’s happening. It’s acceptance of ourselves while we’re in pain. Self-compassion practice is a special method for whittling away our stubborn tendencies to resist pain and grasp for pleasure.”
Excerpt from The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions
By Dr. Christopher K. Germer, New York: The Guilford Press 2009,
In a quiet moment, picture opening a beautifully wrapped gift. Inside the box is the happy glow of self-compassion. As you slowly open this gift feel the soothing relief of accepting how you are in the moment, not as you expect or should be. The lightness of this gift bathes you with acceptance of your imperfection and humanity. This would mean that you are now allowed to truly believe that your holiday efforts to make others happy are good enough. Allow yourself to breath in the fact that even though the holidays may bring up painful times or stress, that you are not alone in this experience. No one has a perfect holiday. No one has a perfect life. Everyone suffers on some level. Allow yourself to acknowledge your struggles and celebrate your efforts. Remind yourself that you are loved and loving.
Very often we push ourselves to do better than our best for others over the holidays and in the months leading up to the holidays we put pressure on ourselves to try to cover the added expenses. Let self-compassion guide you to simplify and appreciate the meaningful contact we have with others that transcends the materialistic side of the holidays.
Seek a balanced approach to the holidays by ensuring that time for fresh air, exercise, and nutritious food is intermingled with enjoyable, safe excess. Remember to take care of yourself and tend to your need for relaxation so you can truly be present with loved ones and even people you kind of like over the holidays.