As I sit here on Christmas Day, my memories of the past few weeks are an interesting collage of insanity. I had such high hopes for the holiday season this year; my intention was to finally mange to have a mellow experience, without the drama and colossal stress that seem to accompany the winter season for me.
But then the usual reality ensued — children wanting certain gifts, the pressure of finding the perfect gifts for everyone, spending far too much money on said gifts, obsessing about how I look before meeting up with my relatives, time scheduling of a large family and all the complexity that goes with it, the additional craziness of my daughter going out of the country for a vacation with her grandma — coincidentally leaving on the day of my son’s birthday and coming back on Christmas Day itself — which was really fun to plan around (insert heavy sarcasm here).
Thus my beautiful intention quickly fell apart at the seams. I sit here wondering, how did this happen again? The inescapable answer? I did it to myself. Internal face palm.
Instead of creating strong boundaries around this holiday — i.e. letting the kids know ahead of time what to expect, being firm with my mom about what dates would work for us, being firm with myself and intentional about how much money I was willing to spend, and clearly communicating my needs and intentions to everyone — I let the momentum of what others wanted supersede my own will. Unfortunately, this has been a common theme for me in this lifetime.
I’ve had to work very hard to build my assertive muscle; it’s taken me years to be able to speak my truth and establish meaningful boundaries with myself and others. In short, it’s been a long road to freedom, paved with layers of hard labor — one that’s still bogged down by the occasional unforeseen pothole.
A few days ago, on the Winter Solstice, I journaled and reflected on the past year and what I’d like to manifest for the new year — and what I need to release in order to make that possible. Today’s musings are a nice continuation of that reflection, showing me where I still have some loose ends.
When I go within and look at my emotional house, I can see that my unresolved inner turmoil caused this holiday kerfuffle:
Feeling guilt and shame over not being able to buy gifts for everyone in our family
Feeling guilt for not having an equal number of presents for each child and the subsequent fear of feeling guilt if said child were to feel hurt over this
Feeling indebted to my mom for taking my daughter on such a wonderful and costly vacation, thus feeling disempowered and unable to request changes to the travel dates
The fear of feeling shame about people being disappointed with the gifts I give
The fear of being seen as not good/pretty/smart/thoughtful enough by my friends and family.
This list of feelings paints a pretty clear picture of how this inner cocktail of toxicity could cause some problems. With that mess brewing, it’s no wonder that things went awry!
This discovery led me to take a deeper look at the beliefs that are hidden under the surface of the above emotions. Shockingly, there’s only one belief that’s causing all these issues:
The belief that I am not enough.
I’m not good enough if I can’t buy everyone presents. I’m a bad mother if I don’t give my children an equal number of gifts. I’m a bad sister if my brother doesn’t like the gift I picked out for him. I’m a bad daughter if I tell my mom that the dates she picked out for a vacation don’t work for me, since she’s footing the bill. I’m not acceptable if I show up with no makeup and visible grey hair, with comfortably casual clothing rather than dressed up to the nines.
See the common thread?
I’ve been processing this particular malady for a few years now. It’s a work in progress, obviously. But this inner reflection is a window through which I can see what patterns are underway and provides meaningful context that shines a light on what I can’t see when I’m in the middle of the stress fest.
Logically, of course I want to be the best person I can be and present my best self to my friends and family — I think everyone wants that.
But isn’t my best self my authentic self?
Shouldn’t my friends and family appreciate my authenticity, warts and all? I believe they do. Being authentic and sharing that authenticity invites others to do the same. It’s how we connect and resonate with one another. Thus, if I want to be deeply connected with my friends and family, I should resonate at my truest frequency in order to build a strong foundation for this connection.
My internal self — my inner insecure child — is the one who doesn’t think others will accept me as I am. So I have to use some facts to correct this hazardous belief:
Am I really a better person if my grey hairs aren’t showing?
Is giving the perfect gift really what this holiday is about for me?
Is it really beneficial to spend all my money on presents?
What concepts am I modeling for my children?
Is this who I want to be and what I want to experience moving forward?
These are the questions I’m asking myself today — and the ones I’ll be answering with a new approach next year. What’s under your metaphorical hood this season? Can you see any patterns that need to be released? Which beliefs are you wanting to carry forward next year?
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Merry tidings & truth finding to you,