I had prepared a nice graphic with the 'normal' and expected Merry Christmas and Happy New Year message and was about to write something but nothing felt honest and authentic within me.
Merry Christmas feels like an empty greeting for me. It sets this expectation that this is the time to be merry. To be honest, Christmas is not a time I am happy. For me Christmas is a challenging time, where I have to spend time with some of the people I am most triggered by, when most of my less likeable aspects come to the surface and memories from the past visit once again.
In the past, I felt a lot of pressure to make it a happy time. I used to spend a huge amount of money in presents, was super organised in thinking about these months in advance and would just build up this expectation in my head that never ever came true. I ended up at the end of Christmas eve dinner feeling empty, tired and that the big built up beforehand was just a bunch of hot air that would just disappear into nothing.
In the last few years, starting to notice more my reactions and patterns, I started setting intentions for how I wanted Christmas to be. These intentions were something like: I want to understand my family better, I want to be able to better communicate with them, I would like to know more of their experience from their point of view.
For Christmas my family is just me, my mother and my brother. I speak regularly with my mother but am only with my brother in person at Christmas and we don't really talk to each other much in between. So Christmas has recently come up as the opportunity to listen to them, their side of the story of a life that we shared together for many years.
I am still triggered by both my mother and brother's behaviour and I know I do the same for them. There are a lot of old learnt automatic behaviours and feelings that come to the surface when we are together. These last couple of weeks I have been struggling with some of these and I have come to realise that the best thing when spending time with my family, is to find the time to practice self-care as much as possible. When I have time to care for me, I am always in a better state to face others and what we raise in each other.
I also have been kinder and more compassionate to the parts of me that react, instead of being hard on myself and judging. This, together with a few interspersed conversations where I get to communicate calmly and clearly about certain aspects that have been triggered in me, has already created change in my experience this year.
I understand that not everyone experiences Christmas this way, but for those of you where Christmas presents itself as a challenging time, I hope that what I have shared helps you in whatever way it is meant to.
Do you know what I want for Christmas?
Kindness, Compassion, Understanding, Patience, Openness and Honest Communication.
The message and the wishes I truly wish you, not just now, but all year around are:
May you be happy
May you be free
May you be your true self
With love to you all,