For many who want seasonal cheer, surviving and thriving the holidays in families that aren’t picture perfect is a tall order. Here’s a sprinkling of spiritual truths to keep handy.
(1) You’re not “weak” or “un-spiritual” if ignorant and cruel acts cause you to feel pain. It just means you have feelings. We can’t always choose how we feel; sometimes, hurtful behavior just hurts. But we can always choose what we do with those feelings – (a) look at them in the light of truth, love ourselves, get the lessons, and peacefully let them go or (b) be paralyzed or embittered with pain, holding grudges, denial, and casting blame. It’s okay if your process of coming to peace doesn’t happen in 10 minutes , 10 days, or 10 weeks. What’s important is that you are in a process of peace.
(2) It’s not your responsibility or your job to “fix” family members who are broken or “cure” everyone’s heartache, physical and mental illness, self-destructive habits, et cetera. Your primary responsibility is tending to your own vibration through self-care and self-love. Only when you have done so are you capable of compassion and empathy under-girded with strength to keep you from being torn apart or blown off course.
(3) You are not to blame for anyone else’s actions, feelings, problems, and limitations. You are also not to be blamed or shamed for things you did as a child trying your best to survive in a harsh situation created and controlled by adults. Trying to gut you with guilt for their bad actions is a desperate dodge for responsibility by weak people who are terrified and ashamed of themselves.
(4) Take joy where it can be found. Challenge yourself to look into the true beauty of the mundane – the endless uniqueness of snowflakes, aromas of burning leaves and wood smoke washed against a pale sky, the precious simplicity of holding hands. Remember that you, and no one else, is the author of your happiness – and you, as much as any living being on Earth, deserve a full measure of love, happiness, peace, and contentment now and always.
(5) Real gifts aren’t bought – they’re bestowed, found, shared, pondered, and occasionally understood. They are transformed from what sometimes seems like nothing at all. They have names like friendship, wisdom, wonder, talent, and beauty. Created in the furnace of God’s heart and sprinkled down among us, falling stars in the sky or bursting logs in the fireplace are signs of these gifts.
Have blessed and happy holidays, whatever, wherever, and however you celebrate. You are wonderful!