Getting Ready for the Holidays without Losing Yourself

Friday, December 9, 2011 1:23 | Filled in Body, Mind, and Spirit/Personal Growth

Dear Dr. Stormy,

With Christmas right around the corner, I find myself feeling overwhelmed and resentful. It’s not that I don’t want to make a nice holiday for my family. I just feel like the effort that has to be expended is way too much. My husband is very helpful and my children are not overly demanding. Still, it’s all more than I can handle. I feel like a Grinch. Help!

Guilty Girl

Dear Guilty Girl,

Since your pressure to perform is coming more from within rather than without, the best thing you can do is to get in touch with your inner truth and follow it. Here is a list of questions you might ask yourself when attempting to determine your inner truth. They are from my latest book, Truths from the Self: Insights into Finding Wisdom in the Present Moment.

What reality do I most need to acknowledge at this time?
What do I require at this point in time?
What life path best serves me right now?
What fears block me from choosing a constructive path?
What action will leave me with a feeling of deep inner peace?
What action can I sustain right now, given my current capacities and state of mind?
What action is aligned with my deepest inner urgings?
What action does my body support?
What action do my emotions support?
What action will I look back on and feel content that I have chosen the right path?
What action feels solid at its core even if it carries difficulty?
What is the best creative use of my time and energy?

These are some pretty big questions, but the answers will come from within as a felt sense, as an emotional leaning, as a prevailing heart’s desire. They will reveal themselves in whatever brings you the greatest joy and in whatever most piques your interest. They will also make themselves known through an emotional shift that gives you the greatest sense of relief — not relief in the sense that you have managed to run from something, but relief in that you have chosen according to your deepest truth.

Since inner truth takes into account the urgings of the higher self as well as those of the personal self, your inner truth will probably lie somewhere in the middle of selfless service to others and attention to your own needs. Perhaps your inner truth will be that you want to create a beautiful Christmas for your family yet place firm limits on time spent cooking, cleaning, decorating, and buying. Maybe it will be to break with tradition and try something totally new and different (take a trip, eat out). Maybe your inner truth will be to omit certain things that you usually do (sending cards, attending the Nutcracker, throwing a holiday party, feeding too many people). Whatever it is, please get yourself in there somewhere. The best present to your family will be a peaceful, happy you.

Dr. Stormy

Dear Dr. Stormy,

It’s the holiday season again and, as usual, I can’t say no. I feel like I have to fulfill everyone’s wishes so they won’t be disappointed. Every year I tell myself that I’ll do things differently, but I always end up doing too much. What’s my problem?


Dear Pushover,

Difficulty in setting limits for ourselves usually stems from a fear of loss. We worry that setting limits for our own behavior will be so disappointing to others that they will withdraw their love if we don’t behave as they wish. This can be particularly distressing to us if it reminds us of times from our past when we felt alone and unloved. In such cases we’re responding more to a memory than a present-moment reality; we don’t need to let a painful memory dictate our behaviors today.

The thing to remember here is that negative feelings don’t kill us. They can be observed and tolerated and put in proper perspective. We certainly don’t have to see them as catastrophic. When observed with compassion, these feelings disappear rather quickly.

Expect to feel a bit guilty or ashamed or afraid when you set a limit for yourself. It’s normal. Just agree to feel uncomfortable for a little while and hold to your given path.

Also, you might consider the possibility that you don’t really need the extra love and approval that you get from doing so much for others. Maybe you are already loved and approved of enough. I know this sounds a bit strange, but think about it. We all seem to be on some sort of eternal quest to gain more and more love, adoration, and approval. It’s a quest from childhood; but we aren’t children. We’re adults, and we can we let what we have be enough.

Dr. Stormy

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