Practicing self-compassion is the first step of the 30-day holiday challenge. We need to acknowledge that we are going through a difficult time and cut ourselves some slack. This isn’t the year to suck it up and attend parties you don’t want to go to, or stay up late writing holiday cards.
Pause and tune into your own needs, because unmet needs are the cause for stress and anxiety, and frayed relationships.
The holidays tend to bring out our inner-perfectionist as we put pressure on ourselves to make other people happy through the gifts we buy, the food we serve, and the miles we drive in an effort to see as many relatives and friends as possible. We make our value about what we are doing instead of how we are being.
We may overlook that the biggest gift we can give to anyone is our whole self. We are whole when we are aligned emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
How do we get into alignment? We start out by being real and owning that we aren’t perfect.
Friends of mine just attended a workshop with Brene Brown in which she talked about the concept of permission slips. These can be sticky notes on which you write what you need from yourself in order to help you move forward when facing a situation in which you need to show up and be brave. Brave in this sense means being authentic and exposing the real you. She used the example of the first time she appeared on the Oprah show and she was nervous. She carried a sticky note in her pocket that gave herself permission to be goofy and uncool.
If you are struggling, you don’t need to pretend everything is fine. Take a moment, close your eyes and envision the upcoming holidays. What permissions do you need to give yourself that will allow you to engage in an authentic way? Here are three of mine.
I give myself permission to:
- Spend the holidays only in the company of people who I enjoy.
- Not to smile when I feel sad
- Leave the boxes of decorations in the garage this year.
Identify at least two or three permissions you need to give yourself. Write them down and put them in your pocket. Re-read them and add more. How does giving yourself a break deepen your compassion for others?