5 ways to “Be Present”: A holiday survival guide
We are in full swing of the holiday season. Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is well behind us and we are blazing into the December holidays. However with the hustle and bustle of the holidays comes the ever mounting pressure of life. With the uptick on holly jolly joy, babies, proposals and the like we tend to forget to be centered (and thankful) for the present moment which leads to dissatisfaction, anger and depression. To mitigate these stresses as much as possible here are five ways to "be present" during the holidays.
The phrase "be present" first came to me in its Hebrew form להיות נוכח. A former employer and his family would say this to each other when they were being less than focused on life happening in front of them. To be present is being focused on the now moment. To be fully engaged in how life is unfolding before you. He mentioned this to me one day while I was engrossed in my phone during a casual company lunch instead of interacting with my coworkers.
At first being present only related to how I engaged with others in social settings, but something interesting happened as I continued to integrate this idea into my life. The more I engaged with others the more I realized that I wasn't fully engaged in my own life. I spent so much time either reaching for the feature or digging into the past that I wasn't focused on the now. Below are the ways that I am present in my own life and how you can apply them to your life to get throw the holiday season.
Stay in the now moment
So many of the situations that go awry in our lives are due to our on creation. We go into situations expecting the worse. We pull from our past experiences to "protect" us or "prepare" us for the situation that we are walking into. So we've already created the negative energy of the situation that we are walking into. Have you noticed though that often times what you are preparing for does not happen? Or if it does, sometimes you are actually the one who triggered it? Your perception creates your reality. Instead of projecting the past into your current moment or future moment just deal with what is happening before you. If the situation does become a little hostile or uncomfortable , feel free to take the proper actions to relieve yourself of the triggering situation. The point however is being mindful of what you create. You cannot go into any situation with a negative outlook and be surprised and/or mad when you get negative results.
This is fairly simple. Eat the food. Play the games. Engross yourself in conversation. Project positive energy. You choosing to be in attendance so don't come in with the notion that "I'm here but I'm not really here to engage with y'all". Not only is this attitude extremely petty it is also the cause of combative interactions. Your negative emotions will irritate the other people around you and while they would be best served by leaving you be often times they want to know "what your problem is" so they can help you turn your mood and around and you can stop dragging on the energy of everyone else.
During last holiday season I was separated from my partner and it made it extremely difficult to be happy. I was legitimately hurt at Christmas when (feeling much happier) my very upset disposition during the Thanksgiving holiday was brought up. I was struggling through layers of pain, inadequacy and a situation I had never been in before and I was crushed that my hurt was looked down upon. At the time I couldn't see how that wasn't the case. My parents took the time out to talk to me about my pain, however I wallowed in it during a time of happiness. If you are choosing to be around family during the holiday season choose to be engaged. Not only will it make you feel better, it will make those around you feel better as well.
Remember that your life is your own
You owe not a single person on this planet an explanation about what you are choosing for your life. Not your momma, daddy, brother, grandparents, uncle twice removed, cousin, aunt that's not really your aunt she's just been with your uncle for a really long time, nobody. From worrying about your finances to asking such impertinent questions as: "Why don't you have a spouse?" or "When are you guys getting married?" and my personal favorite "I'm waiting on grandchildren, when do you think I'll have any?" (to which I honestly want to reply "When you get some grandchildren money." but I'm not going to be rude) the demands to know about your life are high. The great thing to know is that you do not have to answer any of these inquiries into your situation.
If your family is like mine these questions aren't reserved just for the holidays, unfortunately though, these questions tend to increase during the holiday season. However if there is any point where you do not wish to answer intrusive questions know that it is fully acceptable for you to say that you do not want to speak about such things. This doesn't necessarily have to be mean, rude or clapback (unless said clapback is truly warranted and funny) but you can stand firm in your right to privacy. (To read more about not being defined by your relationship or life status look here.)
Know that you are where you're meant to be
You may not be looking forward to the holidays because you feel inadequate. Are you still be working that same job you've been trying to leave for 6 months to a year now? Have you not have received the pay raise, or bought that new car or scored that new house? You may still be single or on your third year of an engagement. Truth is, none of that matters. You are exactly where you're meant to be in your journey. If you were meant to be elsewhere in your journey you would be there. Be comfortable with where you are. That doesn't mean be complacent and not work towards your goals. Just know that you are in your own damn lane making your own damn time and that is all good.
You don't have to go
Seriously. If you are reading my blog you are probably an adult. Which means you and you alone dictate where you go and what you do. You truly do not have to go to a place or be around people who make you unhappy or uncomfortable. If you are not in the mood to be social that is also a good reason not to go (let's be real sometimes the problem is you). I hear so many people complain about having to interact with family that they don't like and to be honest the only thing you HAVE to do in this life is die. Don't go. Stay at home. Go to some other person's house. Just don't take your negativity over to mix with their negativity. At that point you're equally to blame for the fall out.
There you have it. Five ways to help you navigate through the holiday season. Getting through the holiday season can be stressful but focusing on your happiness and remaining present in your situation should help.
Are you dreading the holiday season? If so let me know below.