The holidays are about celebrating. Whether you’re a Christian celebrating the birth of Christ, a Jew celebrating the rededication of the Temple or a pagan raising the dawn after the Winter Solstice’s longest night, this time of year is supposed to be about joy and renewal. So, why are so many of us so anxious? Well, there are a lot of reasons the holidays can be problematic for people—traveling, family pressures, gift giving. Wait. Gift giving? Yes, gift giving.
The Less Than Trigger
Along with joy and renewal, this is a time of year that can bring up a sense of unworthiness or ‘less than’. This often shows up in the gifts we feel we need to give and the money we feel we need to spend to give them. We can come up with all sorts of fancy names for it, but the bottom line is a lot of us suffer from a kind of holiday performance anxiety that is hardily informed by a poverty mentality going much deeper than just our pockets.
For many of us, the holidays have become a trigger for the more general sense of ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ almost all of us entertain—and sometimes doggedly harbor—at some point in our lives.
The gifts we give often symbolize our efforts to ‘catch up’, and we may not even know it. In an effort to sooth ourselves, at this time of year we end up spending, spending, spending—and often overspending, which only adds to the anxiety—to make up for whatever lack we perceive in ourselves.
Adding to the mix, the social, cultural and media messages we receive about the holidays being a time for giving getsburied in the rampant commercialism that now defines them. The joy of the season gets somehow lost, and we end up celebrating something much different than rebirth and renewal. We end up celebrating our ‘less than’ without even realizing we’re doing it.
Remember the True Spirit and Your True Worth
How can we relieve ourselves of this burden, and recapture the spirit of the season? First, we can make a decision to recognize that ‘this much is enough.’ More importantly, we can take a moment to recognize that we are enough. The gifts we give are not about their cost, but about celebrating the light we see in another person. In celebrating that light, we can also take a moment to recognize they honor us in the same way. We are not ‘less than’, but ‘equal to’ at all times, in all ways. That acknowledgement transforms not only our gifting, but our experience of ourselves,as well as those around us.
Think back to traditions we started our conversation with. OK, so there was that one guy who showed up with the chest of gold, but these moments were celebrated with some incense, some herbs and, most importantly, light. Rather than lining up for that Nintendo Mini NES Classic this season, take a moment to shine a little light yourself.
The challenges that present themselves during the holidays can often bring up internal struggles we face in life, with the help of a kind and expert counselor it may be possible for you to address and resolve these struggles. If you would like to see how we can help contact us here.