This time of year is a wonderful time of embrace and connection with those we love. It can also be a time of immense challenge, diverging from our comfort zones and daily routines and diving into family overload. I’ve always thought of these, “I can’t do this next year” moments as a time to reflect and relish in the stability of my own, unique lifestyle (and to work on my deep breathing!). The holidays are a time when I allow myself to honor the habits in my life that are most precious to only one person: ME. Growing up as an only child, I developed an unconscious desire to impress my parents from an early age. Now as an adult, making decisions purely based on my own desires is a goal that I have to continue to slowly adopt.
I’m beginning to digest that is in the more intimate relationships — with parents, significant others, close friends, etc. — that we are pushed the farthest only because love expands personal limits of possibility. If your crazy mother and annoying brother don’t do it for you, god knows your good-intentioned but demanding girlfriend will! My point is: it is ironic how the people we are closest to can also be the people pushing us to change our perspective and rubbing us the wrong way. (Note:) I think it is important to learn if they are asking us to shift from love or shift for their own expectations. This can be a tricky one, but ultimately helps weed out toxic relationships.
This is also a time of year where we are extended to make cookies, write cards, wrap gifts, meet deadlines, organize, delegate and one more thing…focus less on ourselves and more on others. The ability to balance can become stuffed at the bottom of the stocking. Can we still contribute by making a snazzy gingerbread house, etc.-AND-marvel in celebrating our compassion/efforts of how we contribute to our families?? We spend so much time creating or buying thoughtful gifts for others. But if you mattered just as much as your wife, son, grandmother, cousin, boyfriend, dog, how would you act differently? What would you give yourself?
Recently, I have been dealing with both minor and serious injuries that have been challenging my mind more than my body. I don’t even reach the family craze of the holidays till Saturday, yet I have been on the battlefield for a couple of weeks now (as I’m sure most of many of you have, too). I could trudge through my injuries like I normally do, doing my rehab and going to my expensive doctors, surgeons, and so-called healers; getting back in the game as quick as possible. But this go-round is different because I have someone pushing me to shift my perspective. I am being asked to sacrifice what I cling to as my identity and allow the healing of my body to take precedent over my mind. I am being gracefully shoved down to rest despite my inherent love for running, jumping, climbing, and riding most any bike or board I can.
As much as I want to come back with resistance to the advice, I am surrendering to letting go of associated concepts of self-doubt around worth and integrity only because this person is asking me to acknowledge the benefits of doing something differently because I do matter! (*Note:) Someone else believing you are fully worthy is not going to matter unless you believe YOU do…over and over and over again. So, it’s in these intimate relationships, where we are driven to our wits’ end out of the expansion of pure and raw love. The vulnerable acceptance that maybe we aren’t as cool as we thought is hard to admit to others and definitely to ourselves. Family holidays, hardships/tragedies or huge life changes (health, location, jobs) all bring us to the humbling resolution that 1) We’re not alone and 2) We are worthy!
As much as personal self-love is the pinnacle of happiness, we are ALWAYS in relationship. Whether that be intimate or seemingly disconnected (a.k.a barista or bus driver), we are always interconnecting with other beings. Others are influencing us on numerous levels throughout the day. But what would the day look like if you truly believed you truly mattered? How would you act? I am finding that for myself, it is not the process of acting. I am gung-ho for action! For me it’s the first part of the question: believing. Not just believing, but authentically and organically believing that worth does not fluctuate with my body.
I cannot wait to see my parents for the first time in over six months. I also know that there is a high probability for the usual bickering in addition to the hugs, kisses, and laughter. I see those qualities in my parents that I honor and those that I am glad I chose not to adopt. But the perspective they offer me is enlightening. I am so deeply grateful for those people in my life driving me to question and fundamentally believe I am good enough just as I am. May you lean on those people when you need then, and even more when you think you don’t…there’s always a greater plan!
Safe travels and happy holidays!