Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I hope you’re enjoying all the good of this season, and taking all the ‘not so good’ with grace and stride.
No matter how old I get, there is still so much magic and beauty about this time of year to me. The traditions, our Christmas tree decorated, listening to music, my mom baking the peanut butter kiss cookies with my three year old that I made with her when I was the same age.
And, there is the dark side of this time of year that is very real for many of us, too.
Tensions between family members, unrealistic and unmet expectations, perhaps fear of getting older or missing out, losses old and new that can feel as fresh as if they happened yesterday.
I’ll be honest, it’s been tough for me to bear witness to.
We were born connected to ourselves and to universal love. Over time we experience hurt and pain in our lives from feeling judged, not being seen, family dynamics, loss, and heartbreak.
Slowly these moments will have us creating walls as a way to protect ourselves, leading us away from our own hearts and worthiness.
Instead of leading from our heart like you see young children do, our brain will take over to protect us. It creates fearful thoughts such as:
“I can’t tell him how I feel. I’ll just play it cool and see how it goes…
I don’t think he really likes me. If he did he would reach out more.
What if I put myself out there first and I’m judged?
What if I say or do the wrong thing?
Did I miss out on my best chance at love?
Maybe I should just give up because it’s easier that way.”
And so we get lost in our heads. We analyze. We second guess. We spin down the rabbit hole.
We forget our innate worthiness and our connection to our own hearts and receiving the love around us or recognizing the right person for us.
We have to start letting our hearts lead again and for most of us that can be frightening.
The antidote: Connection. To yourself. Your spirituality. The love already around you. Life.
This holiday season I asked the women in Dating Cocktail Lounge to focus on feeling the joy through connecting with others and your Self.
As you focus on connection you’ll also become more aware of those times where you choose to protect or get stuck in your head. Don’t judge when this happens, just recognizing both states are important.
Placing your hand on your heart with your eyes closed and taking 10 deep breaths.
Calling up a family member or close friend and asking them how they are. Then really listening.
Smiling and saying hello to a stranger.
Going to a party or holiday event you were inclined to say no to and really being present.
As you go about this during the holidays, write notes about the moments of connection that you experienced and how they felt. Also note when your reflex took you back into the protective state instead.
As I’ve done this work over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed how often I shut down, and honestly, it bothers me.
I’ve found it hard to not judge myself for this.
Laughing, giving someone a real hug, listening to another person, or just having fun FEELS good. I feel like myself in these moments.
And yet I still do it, like everyone else, I close a piece of myself off during the very moments when I would be happier if I chose connection instead.
It’s a work in progress. I am a work in progress, right alongside you.
So this holiday season Gladys, whatever it is that you celebrate, whatever stage you currently are in life, or whatever your relationship status might be at this moment, I hope that you feel overwhelming joy, connection, and love.
As my favorite Christmas movie “Love Actually” says….love really is all around.