“If you think you’re enlightened,
go spend a week with your family.”
~ Ram Dass
It’s that time of year again – chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose; Aunt Edna criticizing your new haircut.
The holiday season is supposed to be a season of joy and goodwill, so why is it so difficult? If the idea is to gather ‘round a fire for an uplifting sing-a-long, why do we instead find ourselves home alone in bed, drowning our tears with a pint of candy cane ice cream?
For many people, holidays are stressful because they drudge up unresolved feelings of loneliness, depression, abandonment and despair. The whole month of December has the same effect as a full moon; so if you haven’t faced any of your emotional baggage for the past 11 months, get ready to rock. When the Christmas trees go up, your sanity’s going down.
One of the most common experiences during the holidays is a feeling of loneliness, even in the presence of friends and family. Often people feel lonelier in the presence of their loved ones, especially if they’ve felt rejected or criticized by them in the past.
If you’re the black sheep of the family, you’ll feel extra-alienated, as your oddities become apparent in the presence of your herd (i.e. even though I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, my dad still suggests I eat a piece of turkey at Christmas dinner, every… single… year.)
So what can you do to ward off depression, beat the holiday blues and finally make your spirits bright?? There’s only one solution: you have to use the holidays as an opportunity for personal growth.
Though you may not want to admit it, the perception of your external world is just a reflection of your inner world. From this point of view, all the sadness, hurt, and pain that surfaces during the holidays is just a signal from your inner self, showing you where you need to heal. You can use the holiday season to acknowledge this inner guidance and work through your issues, or you can bury them for another year by suppressing them with whiskey and shortbread.
So… if you’ve had it with being drunk and chubby for the entire month of December, why not give this personal development thang a shot? You’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe the five pounds you packed on last Christmas.
The first step to beating the holiday blues is to uncover the false beliefs you’re projecting out into your external world. For example, let’s say it’s you that is the black sheep of the family. The holidays stress you out because you think your relatives only exist to irritate and reject you. But if you were to look closer, you’d see that your perception is just a reflection of your subconscious thoughts:
I don’t belong
I’m an outcast
I’m a loser
No one understands me
I’ll never fit in
My family hates me
These false beliefs are just a few examples of thoughts that we repeat over and over in our heads without questioning if they’re serving us. They’re “true” in the outside world, because we have made them true in our minds.
The holiday epiphany in this example is that it isn’t your family rejecting you; you’re rejecting you! And you won’t experience anything but disapproval from the outside world until you transmute the self-rejection that dwells within you.
I’m not saying that once you do your personal work, your Aunt Edna won’t criticize your haircut. What I am saying is that once you have done your personal work, Aunt Edna’s criticism will cease to bother you. You can’t be triggered by anything in the external world unless it already exists within you.
Once you’ve identified your false belief patterns, it’s time to let them go. You can release old beliefs one at a time by asking a simple question — who would I be without this thought? The vision that arises out of such a question is quite profound, because the person you would be without your inner nitpick is a completely awesome expression of who you really are.
So instead of trimming the tree this season, trim away the negative thoughts that drag you down. You’ll reveal the joy, peace, and love of your true identity, and holiday blues will be a thing of Christmas past.
Talk about a festivus miracle.