‘Tis the season…
To be Jolly…or is it? Today I want to write a little about the impending holidays. If you are like me, from Halloween to New Year’s Day, my family and I are going. We are on the move. Between multiple sports practices, concerts, family events, getting decorations & putting them up, t work parties, friend gatherings, and everyday life, 'tis the season to be busy.
And really, 'tis the season for obligations. You know, the have to’s ought to’s, shoulds, and musts. These all come with a lot of guilt, inner turmoil, and negative thoughts. And a lot of doing things we don't want to do that zap our time and joy.
So, how can it be the jolliest part of the year if we are constantly having to do things we don’t want to, feel like we HAVE to, and are always making sure no one is mad at us? This happens in part because we don't say no!
There it is, saying no.
Once again, we are caught between taking care of others and taking care of ourselves. I don’t know about you, but there are nights I am just tired. I don’t want to snuggle my youngest child even though he has asked…and yes, I have guilt as I write that… (insert the judgment and negative thoughts!!) I’m a bad mom… what kind of monster doesn’t want to snuggle their child??? How selfish I am…. the thoughts continue. Until they don’t.
Insert the self-compassion voice. One that understands all that has been asked of me or even taken throughout the day, week, and month. How being everything to everyone takes a toil and I need a few minutes or a night to regroup. It’s not selfish. It’s self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And you really can’t pour from one that’s broken! Admitting I don't want to do something, in this case, snuggle my son, doesn't make me anything. It means I don't want to do something. Whether I choose to do it is actually separate from realizing I don't want to do it.
During this season of doing, there isn’t a lot of being. There’s a lot of "ought to"," should", and "have to" going on in my brain. I feel the pressure from all around me so much that vertigo has crept up and made my head spin for the past three days. Sure it’s an inner ear thing filled with extra fluid, but it’s also a metaphor for what is going on in my life right now that I created or at least allowed. I’m spinning. I’m angry at what has been handed to me in several spheres of my life and have given up some self-care to take care of and lead others. I’m not jolly. I’m the opposite.
I’m not doing what I want, I’m doing what I believe I have to. So, who’s making the rules here? Who says I have to give into the "should" I tell myself? Does the world stop if I don’t go to the gathering? No. Will someone get mad at me? Possibly. Will it give me a chance to recoup to say yes next time? Maybe.
But I won’t know until I try it.
So, I’ve made a deal with myself when someone asks me to do something (that isn’t via text where I can delay an answer), I am going to reply with, thank you for the invite! I need to check my schedule and get back to you. This gives me a bit of time not to impulsively say yes and go against my gut that says no. It allows for a union of the two and allows both the exist at the same time.
And then I can make the best decision before responding. I can bravely choose authentic moments that allow for grace in replying.
Sometimes I will still choose to give into the "have to’s" or the "ought to’s", but sometimes I won’t. Either way, I will give myself a chance before giving away my time and energy. And then maybe, the jolly will follow.
Authentic and Brave,