How to Maintain Your Power Throughout the Holidays
By Melissa McFarlane, CPCC
It's that time of year again. The Holiday Season is upon us. Which means most of us, for better or for worse, will be with our families. Being with family-though familiar-can inspire a sense of dread. As we approach Grandma's house (or Aunt Jude's, Dad and Mom's, our Brother Ted's, etc.) we roll our eyes and prepare to be treated the same way we were treated when we were the adorable 5 year old or the rebellious 16 year old. Rarely do we experience a full and welcoming embrace of our present day selves; instead, we are constantly shadowed by the memory, stories and expectations of who we once were, sometimes in stark contrast to who we've become or would have liked to become.
And then, as if stepping into a time warp, we regress. Every "button" and annoyance that we have had since we were born is suddenly activated and pressed. And pressed. And pressed. And pressed. Suddenly we feel powerless, angry, frustrated and even hopeless. Will this EVER change? Will "they" ever see us as we truly are? Can we possibly find a way to take our power back during the Holiday Season?
ABSOLUTELY! We can take our power back at any time. Electric Kites asserts that holiday stress is a decision - usually made by default - NOT a FACT! You have the POWER to create what you want this holiday season. A few moments of calm visualization and some decisive actions are all it takes. Doing so is a 2 Step process: Step 1: Acknowledge when and how we give our power away, and Step 2: Decide on and commit to a plan for taking it back! You can try it on now:.
Step 1 - Begin by imagining your typical holiday at this time of year (Thanksgiving, Channuka, Christmas, New Year's Eve). Imagine who is usually around you. What are the smells? What music or noise do you hear? Really be there.
Great. Now write down your answers to the following questions:
1. What really works for you about your typical holiday?
2. What does NOT work for you about this holiday?
3. Where or HOW do you notice you give your power away?
Now imagine that this holiday season is your LAST holiday season. Consider that you have the gift of knowing that this is your last Holiday Season. In the light of the new importance of this Holiday Season, consider the questions below, and write down your answers:
1. What would you do differently? (Really look: if this was your last holiday...what would you do differently?
2. What would you say,"YES" to? (self-care, patience, more time with your grandmother, etc.)
3. Who would you say, "YES" to? (your partner, yourself, your nieces and nephews?)
4. What would you say NO to? Who would you say NO to? (Overtime? An old grudge? Your ever-negative Aunt? TV?)
5. Where would you celebrate your holiday? (At home? At Mom's house? In Paris? In the jungle?) What place really speaks to your heart and soul?
6. What would you make certain you'd create? (Family connection? reconcilation? Moments of solitude to honor and appreciate life?)
7. What would you risk? (Would you FINALLY have that long delayed conversation with your sister? Would you risk making your friends angry by spending the holidays abroad or alone?)
8. What is the most prominent feeling you'd choose to feel? (Joy? Peace? Excitement? Solitude? Adventure?)
Great. Now imagine this NEW version of your holiday. Really feel it. What are the sounds? Smells? Tastes?
Step 2 - Given your answers to the questions in Step 1, determine what actions you might need to take to create this new holiday. Perhaps a long look at your calendar whilst sipping tea would be in order? What are you planning to do already that might jeopardize the good feeling of your NEW holiday? What is a BOLD action that would be guaranteed to shake up your holiday status quo and pull a more alive, joyful and true-to-you holiday towards you?
Good. Now, the only thing left for you to do is DECIDE and COMMIT to creating this new Holiday. Perhaps that means canceling plans, changing plans, creating plans. Maybe you'll have to let go of some previously nursed opinions or beliefs?
Here's to you holding on to your power, and to your Holiday Season being filled with authentic joy and surprising ease!
Content herein previously developed by Amy Ahlers and Melissa McFarlane.
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