Wright Foundation | December 23, 2015

Holiday Mayhem:
Your Guide to a
Great Season

During the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of your focus. Family patterns emerge, feelings come up to haunt us from Christmases past, and your New Year’s Eve plans might not go as you hoped. You’re off routine and surrounded by people that stir up your feelings.

Maybe you love the holiday season, but feel it’s too commercialized or that you can’t connect with others in a deeper way. Maybe you hate the holidays or avoid them because you’ve had a rough year, or you feel you aren’t in a financial place to give people lavish gifts. Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas at all and you’re sick of everyone shoving Christmas in your face.

Well, no matter what your belief framework—Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, or Agnostic—you can still see this as a time to end the year on a high note. It can become a time to express your appreciation for others and spread tidings of goodwill towards your fellow men (and women). It can be a time of transformation and growth for all of us.

I think of the holidays as the time of year to express appreciation to my loved ones and tell them just how meaningful they’ve been to me. I like to hear about their memories and the positive experiences the season brings up. I also like to hear about the negative things and let my loved ones work them through by expressing their feelings—getting them out, confronting those fears and regrets, and letting them go. This is a powerful time of year.

As we close the season, our thoughts turn to transformational living and growth as well. Give your loved ones the gift of transformation by sharing our book, Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living.

What It’s All About: Showing Appreciation

People beat themselves up wanting to buy the perfect gift, when really, the perfect gift is what you give of yourself. Before you feel like you can’t give your loved one a new car, television set, or whatever commercialized “next big thing” is out there, take a moment to reflect on what you CAN give to those you love.

Tell your significant other that although you can’t afford what you wish you could give, you want to express all the things you appreciate about them and the reasons you’re grateful your partner is in your life. Then, tell your loved one you’d like to hear what they want from you for the upcoming year. What are their desires, their yearnings, and their hopes for your relationship? Engage in activities and meaningful moments.

We get in this mindset that the only way to express our love is by giving grand gestures and big gifts. Truly the most meaningful gift is appreciation. Tell others what you appreciate about your relationship with them. Explain the impact they have on your life and the blessings you desire for each other in the upcoming year.

Home for the Holidays Can Be Hard

We all have feelings of inadequacy and longing to be seen for who we really are. We want others to know us and to care about us. No one brings that out quite like family and those closest to us.

When we find ourselves back home for the holidays, old patterns and resentments can die hard. Maybe our parents and siblings dredge up frustrations and regrets. We can fall back into our roles from childhood and all of the feelings that entails.

This year, declare a vacation from resentments. It’s not about being phony or pretending everything’s great. You can even let your parents know that while there are plenty of things left unsaid right now, you do want to address them in the future. However, in the spirit of the season, you want to declare a resentment-free zone. Put the feelings aside. If something comes up or occurs during the holiday, address it and move forward.

Get the conversation rolling by asking your family members to reflect on their best memories of the season. Express your gratitude to your parents for giving you life. No matter how difficult things might have been in the past, your life is of great value to you and you appreciate that.

Pose the same question to your family that you posed to your partner: what can you do for your parents, siblings and family members in the upcoming year? What are they looking forward to in the next year? Even if your family members shut you down, roll their eyes, or get uncomfortable, see it through. Acknowledge the awkwardness and move through it.

Avoiding Burnout

When you’re pulled in different directions and trying to pack in too much stuff, take a step back to engage with those around you. Ask family and friends about their favorite holiday memories. Engaging with a loved one and discussing what the holidays mean to that person can be a powerful way to move the conversation to a deeper level.

Engage with those around you in a meaningful way and you’ll bring the meaning back into your holiday. For example, look at your extra work hours as a way to better serve your clients and help them make the most of their holiday as well. If you’re trying to finish up end of year quotas and close your books, think of all the ways you’re making your business better for next year, and doing your due diligence to close the year properly and on a high note.

Remember, even though it can seem difficult, the holidays are a beautiful time to appreciate all the things we love about each other. It’s a time to express gratitude and think of ways we can give back and care for one another.

Use movement into a New Year as an opportunity to start your own transformation. See this as a time to elevate yourself and the world around you. Engage with others and discover your best self. Start living a life that touches all those around you and discover the ways you can go out and make the world a better place.

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Learn more about our More Life Training. Engage with others and discover ways to bring out your best self. It will give you the tools you need to go forth and ignite your world.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s book: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available now from Amazon!)

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Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user michalo.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.