From Here to There: Holiday Traditions – Conscious Living (part 5 out of 5)
written by Pati Hope
It’s easy to get caught up either in the excitement of the season or to become cynical and non-participating. Mindful living challenges us to pause, check in with ourselves and make conscious decisions on how we want to partake in this holiday season, not from obligation but from a place of choice.
Thank you for joining me for the past five weeks as we’ve explored the possible evolution of holiday traditions and even possibly the permission to evolve your own holiday traditions, keeping what brings you joy and leaving behind what doesn’t.
The things that we’ve touched on so far is letting our holiday traditions evolve as we do; not letting anyone define for us how we wish to celebrate (or not); exploring the different love languages; other ways to show love during the holidays; and now we wrap it up with living beyond obligation. And once again, it all begins with being mindful and simply stopping, checking in with ourselves and choosing what will bring us joy. Sounds a bit selfish doesn’t it? I mean after all, the holidays are supposed to be for giving and sharing, right? Well, often times the most important person in our life is neglected. And when they should be the first on our list, often, they don’t even make the list. Can you guess who I’m talk about? Yes… YOU! Really considering what YOU want and what will make YOU happy! Remember the old saying, “If mamma ain’t happy ain’t no body happy?” Let’s take it one step further and say, “If I’m not happy, if I’m saying yes to things that don’t make me smile, things that I can’t do with joy, then, that translates to passive/aggressive behavior, displaced anger, depression or all of the above.
Yes, yes, I know all the excuses. Here are just a few of our many excuses for saying yes when we should have said no. “I should; Common decency dictates; We’ve always done it that way; I don’t want to disappoint; My boss expects; My friends won’t understand; I can’t say no;” are just a that we might find rumbling through our minds.
But, just remember this, that saying YES to something
means saying NO to something else.
In beginning to discern what we can do this holiday season without feeling obligated and with joy, we can begin simply by asking ourselves a couple of questions. “What would the perfect day/week look like? Will you be happy when you return home that you went or will you be complaining about it and everyone there? Will it bring you joy? (And yes, sometimes doing something that we know will make another happy will bring us joy!) But this is tricky, because we may be tempted to say yes… to keep the peace… to please another, (sometimes it’s just our perception) but in doing so, it will make us unhappy, angry or sad. So, where and how can you compromise with joy? “I will go to Aunt Martha’s with you for dinner, because you asked me to and I know that it’s important to you. But I’ll bring my own transportation so that I can leave and you’ll be free to stay and visit as long as you like. How would that be?” Be sure to not let yourself get talked into to doing something that doesn’t feel good to you. You will just be mad at yourself and resent them later, which isn’t a good combo, especially for happy holidays.
If the answer you want to give is no, you could say something like, “No, you go and spend time with your family. It’s my gift to you.”
I was traveling on Thanksgiving Day several years ago when this new concept of holidays spent apart was introduced to me. I had a conversation with a gentleman who was traveling to Florida to golf while his wife went to spend time with her family in Denver! I realized that they were apart, each renewing themselves, however, was life giving to them and returned home, both revitalized from not putting their expectations on the other.
If someone has a panty twist about your decision, that’s your gift to them. It’s an opportunity for them to see where they have wounds that are arising. Just remember that they get to see and feel what they’re experiencing. You are not responsible for their happiness. In fact, the only happiness you’re responsible for is YOURS!
Many people have no idea what boundaries look like and you may be the first person in their life that has the courage to say what will and will not work for you. So be gentle with them and yourself, but don’t give yourself away, don’t say yes if you clearly mean no. You’re learning and modeling what self-care looks like is a gift to everyone, including yourself. Everyone gets to pause, check in with themselves and do the things that feed their soul.
So this holiday season, try living beyond feeling obligated. Be patient, it may be a new skill. Living life guiltless is something many of us have to learn how to do. Saying YES to you will mean peace for those around you. Happy Celebrating; however you choose to do it this year!
If you’d like to contact me with a specific question or if you’d like to explore further how to implement boundary setting in your life, just send me an email. If you’d like to receive my monthly newsletter you can sign up below, I’ll send you a free little booklet, How to Survive Change, A road map of the many changes in life.
A BIG thanks to Meditation Talks for allowing me the pleasure of writing this series. Pati Hope
Pati Hope – Author, Founder & Executive Director of Evolve to Live
As the founder of Evolve to Live, a Nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Educational Outreach organization, Pati is fulfilling a long time dream. By creating this organization, she is bringing her extensive life experiences, skills as an author (three books and counting), inspirational speaker, transitional coach, energy healer and adventurer under one roof to benefit her clients and community. She is passionate about providing workshops, educational outreach, sessions and speaking to groups both large and small to share her insights and experiences. Pati embodies the mission of Evolve to Live, which is to “Embrace Change and to live life with renewed passion and joy!”