Holidays can be complicated—they can be a great time or be greatly disappointing. Covid-19 makes holidays trickier. Here are some expert tips to help you navigate your emotional landscape.
Get Clear On Your ‘Why’
At the core of disappointments are expectations you are not aware of. Ask yourself ‘what’ do you want to do, see, feel, and experience this holiday?
Next, ask yourself ‘why’ you want what you want? This is important because if you figure out your ‘why’ then It becomes more possible to get yourself to fulfillment.
For example, I may say ‘what’ I want to do is make s’mores with my family in the fire pit. If it doesn’t happen in this specific way I will likely get disappointed.
However, if I know the reason I want to make s’mores is that I love the stories we end up sharing, and I love to eat s’more.
Now, if the weather doesn’t cooperate I can still get the fulfillment I was hoping for by creating moments of story sharing and enjoying s’mores that don’t involve a fire pit.
Communicate With Yourself & Others
The issue with communication has less to do with how people talk and a lot more to do with how they listen
Most people who request relationship therapy want to learn to communicate—they feel they are not being heard—everyone is talking but no one is truly listening.
It’s hard to listen because of fears such as, if I listen to you then—you’ll take over, you’ll think you’re right and I’m wrong, you’ll undermine me, I’ll forget what I’m saying, etc.
The deeper issue with communication is not having a clear line of communication with yourself.
Once you give yourself the respect and priority to listen to yourself, you’ll easily find the calm and security you need to hear the other people’s perspective as well—even if it is an opposing one.
Be Honest & Say ‘No’
When you agree to do something that you didn’t really want to do, you run the risk of feeling like others owe you something in return and sets you up for disappointment.
It may be that you expect others to appreciate you after you have pleased them. You may expect them to—induct you in the ‘hall of the best’, do things for you in return, etc.
You may expect others not to listen to their own truth like you didn’t listen to yours. Whereas the reality is you were being dishonest when you said yes, even though you actually wanted to say no.
A true act of kindness always begins with you. Without kindness to yourself first, all acts of kindness end up becoming a transaction or a show.
It is important to know what you want and to do all you can to get it. It is important to have plans and to work to execute them. But it is equally important to be flexible when things still don’t work out.
Be flexible and pivot. But If things still don’t go your way, then it’s time to let go of control and accept what is.
Suppose you say, ‘I object, I shall not accept and let go’. Unfortunately what is supposed to happen is still going to happen, whether you agree or not.
Letting go is not giving up—it is an active process—it is not for the weak at heart, it is a choice and it requires great courage.
The ability to let go and accept is the ultimate act of freedom.
The ability to choose how you feel about what is happening—when you don’t have control over what is happening—is the ultimate human choice.
Gratitude & Joy
Indulging in the gratitude & joy combo is my favorite way to trick my ego. Use this every time you are upset—rinse and repeat.
As soon as you become conscious that you are going down the upset lane, interrupt it, and play this quick game.
Find five things that you are grateful for at that moment, keep your attention on them for 90 seconds—use a timer if you have to.
Poof. Congratulations! You’ve successfully tricked your ego. You will move from being taken over by your upset to taking over your upset.
Want joy? Starting right now, for the next 33 days write down 3 things every day that you are thankful for. They can be as simple as, I’m thankful for the sun I feel warming my skin.
You’ll notice more joy and kindness in your life very soon.
Be conscious of what you choose to engage within your mind and in your heart—-because what you allow in the most will determine what you do, what you experience, and ultimately, who you become. Choose wisely.
Happy Holidays. Let’s make them joyful for ourselves and others.
Sanya Bari (@sanya.bari)
Therapist, Coach, Relationship Expert, & Lifestyle Blogger
SHE Magazine USA