You can’t give more than you have. This seems obvious, but without firm boundaries, it is easy to fall into the trap of over-giving and people pleasing. The holidays can become a season of obligation, leaving you emotionally bankrupt, if you aren’t mindful. You are challenged to think of yourself in a season defined by thinking about others.
In going through my own transitions, I have discovered that the stronger you appear, the more that may be asked of you. If you are going through a difficult transition or in grief, your energy is limited and as with your money, needs to be wisely spent. How will you prioritize your energy currency?
Prioritize Your Energy Currency
If you have kids, and are newly divorced, you may feel that it is important to decorate the house, bake and buy gifts in order to maintain a sense of constancy for them. That may not leave you with enough energy to make it to your cousin’s annual holiday gathering this year, and that’s OK. Give yourself permission to keep some time for yourself to recharge.
I don’t have children, but I have family and friends who, from a place of love, want a piece of me. I realize I don’t have enough time or energy to see everyone. Since my father is gravely ill, my first priority is doing what it takes to see him. This will leave me with a very limited amount of energy left for visiting anyone else this year – or calling people back in a timely fashion, or sending cards, or going to many holiday gatherings. The result is that some of my loved ones will be disappointed.
Position Your Relationships For Success
Instead of feeling guilty about letting other people down or allowing yourself to feel ashamed that you aren’t able to do more and be more, how can you re-frame the situation? How about in creating the space you need to address your own needs, you are setting up your relationships for success?
My former marriage therapist offered this framework to me after I had shared a couple of particularly difficult family conversations in which my needs for space were being challenged, and I love it. It is so true. When you do something out of obligation, a feeling of resentment may overlay the relationship dynamic. When you do something from a place of love, you bring a positive energy to the relationship dynamic that is palpable.
In looking out over the next two weeks, how can you position your relationships for success?