by Melanie VanderPol-Bailey
The world and how we think we need to be in this world can sometimes feel like pressure. We may feel as though we should do this, or should feel this or should be this certain way. These thoughts of “should” can impact how we feel and even change how we view ourselves and those around us.
Our society sends strong messages about how we should be during the holiday season. In fact, we are told that the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year.” For many this rings true as we look forward to celebrations and spending time with our families and loved ones. We can quickly get caught up in all of these holiday “shoulds.” Think for a moment of what your should list looks like and how important these “shoulds” really are. Are there some shoulds that you can gently let go of?
For some people the holidays can be lonely, painful and difficult during a time they “should” feel happy. The belief is that families “should” be a protected safe haven of security and love and thus the holidays “should” be fun. Unfortunately, this is not the universal human experience. There may be broken relationships and painful family memories that have been far from loving. Others are separated by long distances and feel disconnected. You may have endured tragic events and loss. Because of these things, some people feel as though they just want the holiday season to be over and that they shouldn’t feel that way.
You are the only one who knows your journey and how you feel during the holiday season. Peace on earth begins by being kind to yourself, honoring all the parts of your experiences as well as your own belovedness. The story of Jesus’ birth is a wonderful reminder that things do not always have to be perfect. Imagine the “shoulds” that surrounded others’ thoughts about Joseph and Mary? Should they have been the parents of the King? Should’ve Jesus been born in a manger surrounded by animals and manure? It seems as though perfect love began in the midst of imperfection.
At Sioux Falls Psychological Services, we meet you where you are, offering hope. To schedule an appointment, call 605-334-2696.