You are good enough.
You are good enough.
I’ve started a YouTube series on my new channel on how to stay as stress free as possible during the holiday season.
I do this because it’s a really painful time for a lot of people. The holidays are meant to inspire and create joy and peace within us all. A time for us to remember all that we’re thankful for, the people we love, and all the ways our life has grown. It swells within us the urge to spread love to others, to help out those who stand in need, to uplift the heavy heart.
And yet, it turns out to be one of the most depression, anxiety, and emotional pain inducing times of the year.
Rates of depression and anxiety sky-rocket. Parents feel guilt and shame over not having mountains of gifts for their children. Adults feel stretched thin by family, feeling as if there is no way to please everyone, no way to spend time everywhere. We feel we “should” be doing this or that, here or there, and that we never meet the expectations the season has placed on us. We become isolated and lonely, sometimes alienated and sick with stress.
Instead of peace, joy, and love – too often we get manipulation, shame, and anger. This is not how we’re meant to feel.
Our joy and happiness is so important, I can’t express it in words. We’re all so valuable and worthy of the best this world has to offer.
I hope you have a healthy, more enjoyable holiday this year. Regardless of what you celebrate or don’t, where you’ll be or what you choose to do or not – you deserve to be treated with love, compassion, respect, and dignity by others AND yourself.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
What are your experiences this time of the year?
Do you do anything in particular to keep away from the negative emotions and behaviors of this season? Any magical advice?
Whatever you feel you cannot overcome, you can.
Whatever you feel you can’t survive, you will.
Whatever you feel makes you weak, can make you strong.
Whatever you fear makes you unlovable, makes you human and relatable.
Whatever challenge in your life feels like it will never end, it will.
Whatever or whoever has left you feeling empty and hopeless and broken and incapable of picking yourself back up so that you can keep going… it doesn’t matter what or who it is, they cannot win. Because you are so much more than who you were yesterday, then what you feel in this moment. You are so much more than your fears for tomorrow and the anxieties that you wake up to.
It does matter how afraid you are. How filled with worry you are. How much pressure you feel. It does matter that you feel terrified to fail, to let someone down, to let yourself down. It does matter that you feel alone or empty or broken.
Everything you feel matters.
But what you feel is what you feel. Your emotions are not your identity.
Do you notice yourself thinking, “I am angry”? That’s not accurate. You are who you are. You feel anger. That anger does not define you.
So when you feel broken. You are not broken. You are simply resting and recovering and grieving and preparing. You are growing stronger, gaining new experience, learning what does not work, building an extra layer of skin.
Every time you feel like you cannot keep going, you can.
I am not saying it will be easy. I am not saying there are any magic words that will take all the pain away and make you feel strong and in control and “all together”.
What I’m saying is, stay true to yourself. If you feel exhausted, you have the right to feel exhausted. Allow yourself to feel that. But it doesn’t define who you are. It’s simply defines what you’re in the process of overcoming.
Do you ever take a look at what you’ve already overcome? At the situations and relationships and challenges in life that you thought were impossible or would never end? You’re here now. You overcame them. They ended.
You can do this.
You can fight for the life, the job, the relationships, the identity you want.
But you have to believe you deserve it. I’m here to tell you that you do. You deserve all the beauty this world has to offer you.
But you also deserve all the suffering it has to offer to you. Because there’s no way for us to get strong if there is no pain involved. There is no growth if some part of us does not grow old and stagnant and die.
There is no rebirth if part of us doesn’t die first.
The pain will end. You will continue to get stronger. You can find a way to navigate this life and still enjoy it.
Our kitchen sink water pressure stopped working. Barely a trickle. Hot water became hard-won and cleaning dishes took on a whole new level of groaning. A few days in, I was irritated with it.
But then I thought, you know, I’m lucky to have water at all. Or a sink, for that matter. Running water that can heat up, a refrigerator to keep my food, an oven to cook with ease, a heater, and air conditioner to keep me comfortable.
I stopped being irritated by the leaking water pressure level.
I started being grateful.
I am not saying we should minimize the small pains in our lives (talking of real issues here now, not low water pressure).
A bit of perspective is all I’m asking here. Of myself. And if you want to join in, you too.
We are so blessed.
We have so much in this country. There are many things to complain about. But this holiday season, can we please, please, look at some of the great things we have?
Focus on what to be grateful for. We have many of those. Even in times of pain and suffering.
I tend to complain about what I don’t have. What isn’t working. I’ve lived in loads of places where jerry-rigging the mickey out of a problem is what you do. At first, I was annoyed. After a while, I became aware of how ridiculous I was being. I don’t get upset easily anymore and when I do, I remember a lot quicker to take stock of things as they truly are.
There are children in hospital beds for the holidays, eating out of a tube. Some with cancer that can’t eat at all. Puking everything up. With no friends. Alone and in pain, much more pain than I’ve ever experienced.
There are men and women whose bodies won’t work the way they’re supposed to. So instead, they spend their days and nights in hospital beds or back bedrooms with nowhere to go and not much to do with their lives. There are people, able-bodied and strong, without a smidge of love in their lives. Struggling to make money enough to buy dinner.
There are people who don’t have access to food. Or clean water. At all.
I’m not trying to hit your shame, guilt, or uber depressing buttons. Rather, trying to put this world into a big picture for myself.
I challenge you to do the same. Put your world into perspective. Seek out a joy in your life instead of focusing on your downfalls or afflictions.
This holiday season, I will remember that I am blessed. I will not belittle my real issues and pains in life. But I will always, always remember that I am so very blessed.
I will say a silent prayer, send a hopeful thought into the universe, that those suffering will feel loved by another. They will get what they need without harm to themselves or others.
I pray that you are surrounded by love and can easily see the greatness in yourself and your life.
If you are not the praying type, that’s all good. There are many kinds of prayers. You do your thing. But we could all use a little goodwill toward mankind, don’t you think?
We can use a little nudge, a little reminder.
That hey, I have a home. A family. People who genuinely love and care about me. People who I love and genuinely care about. I have hopes and dreams and goals. I have food and water and clothes and ways of getting everything I need with ease. I am blessed. I have excess.
I choose to look at the silver lining. The hidden blessing. The positive side. I am an optimist, even when life has me sobbing or enraged.
I will never give up on believing that there is goodness in this world and in this life. I hope you don’t either. You are worth it. I am worth it.
We can find ways to healthily cope with the pains in our lives. We can find ways to smash the darkness with mini holiday twinkle lights and light it up until the darkness is dizzy with wonder and a little fright. Or personal demons don’t get to dictate that we must live as scared little children, hiding under our beds. They live within us. That gives us the power to feed or destroy them.
Instead of focusing on our tedious tasks and oh so annoying bumps in the road, instead of focusing on the pain in our lives.
Just for today. Just for this moment.
Let’s look at the beauty, soak it in. Breathe in the joys and little wins and laughs and smiles and happy accidents, until we’re so full that the misery can’t touch us.
The gigging toddler. The panting happy dog that wants nothing more than to play with you and love you. A knock at the door. Letter in the mail. Hug from a friend. Call from a long-lost relative found anew. A bright sky. Relaxing, rainy nights.
Let’s stand in awe at the wondrous magnitude of beauty, of brilliance this world has to offer.
None of us are perfect. None of us have realized every desire or dream. But we’re worth striving, becoming, learning, and most of all, enjoying.
Enjoy this life. It’s uniquely yours, for better or for worse. And most of the time, you can choose for it to be better.
Let’s find that naïve, childlike wonder inside each of us. Feed it. Keep it alive. Don’t starve the innocence within yourself. Deal with the reality of the dark days and nights but don’t be consumed by them. Allow the light of this season to push back any darkness encroaching on your rightly deserved life.
This season isn’t about presents or price tags, winning holiday dinner competitions or playing one-upsmanship around the table. It isn’t having the brightest lawn of decorations or the biggest number of shiny boxes and bows under the tree.
It isn’t about my leaky sink. It’s about the ease with which I could get help and the fact that I have water, regardless.
It isn’t about the confusion over Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, or Kwanzaa.
It isn’t about the tree or the candles or the wish lists.
This season is about peace, hope, and love. Forgiveness and new beginnings. And while these things may sound corny or trite, they are no less honest, important, and needed.
Let’s focus on what is right in this world. The best in ourselves and others. The hope for better, for healthier, for more joyful lives, financial situations, and relationships.
What we focus on is what we’ll attract, accumulate, and become.
This holiday season let’s choose to become a little kinder, more hopeful, a lot more grateful, attain a healthier perspective. Let us remember that inner peace isn’t something that comes out of a cereal box or shines up children movies alone.
I wish you harmony and peace this holiday season, within yourself and your life. It’s possible. Depends on our choices.
Pain is a given.
No one in this life will escape without hurting.
No one enjoys pain. No one orders up tests or trials in this life. No one jumps up and down in line, hoping they’ll get selected to have another trauma or misery, scar or issue to add to their life.
Pain is a given.
Within this pain, we have two choices. As always, we have to choose.
Denial. Bury your head in the metaphorical sand. Seek distractions. Never live in your own body, in the present moment. Don’t work on your issues. Don’t face your demons. Never face your secrets. Hide. Avoid. Refuse to believe. Push others away. Refuse to grow, work on your failings (because we all have our failings).
We do the work. We struggle through our challenges and fail we may, but we get back on. We let go of what has died. We move forward to what we need. We learn from the past but leave it there. We take the punches as they come, and we figure out how to work around them, hit back, or turn everything upside down and create our own arena of war. We face our demons, our failings, our mistakes. We learn from them and we learn how to destroy shame, turn it into something brilliant and vibrant.
If we choose option one, all we feel is the pain of this life.
If we choose the second option – yes, we’re going to feel pain. But we also get this spectacular, miraculous, gorgeous, chaotic, mess of joys and peace, possibilities and these amazing experiences we never thought possible.
We always have the option to either create or destroy our own life.
Pain is never an option in this life. It’s a given. Why not go through pain to grow, change, and become, so we can then experience joy, peace, and the ability to thrive? Passiveness isn’t going to get us anywhere. No one enjoys treading water, playing the waiting game. No one enjoys hurting for nothing. Well, no one enjoys hurting, period. Gather your hopes, dreams, touchstones and friends. The pieces of yourself that anchor to your very soul. Pain will come regardless. But please, don’t allow it to rule your life. Live through it until it breaks open to magnificence. This life is livable if we choose to stretch past what we think we can do.
Serenity is a hard commodity to come by.
Even harder to hold onto.
Tragedy, loss, pain, affliction, confusion, chaos… these things happen in life. They are part of life.
This does not mean we cannot have and hold onto serenity. Peace. An assurance that I am okay, I have what I need, and a Higher Power will provide for me. I have loved ones. I have myself. I have hope.
I read a quote. I don’t know where it came from.
“You’ve seen better days, but you’ve also seen worse. You might not have everything you want, but you have everything you need. You woke up with some aches and pains, but you woke up. Your life may not be perfect, but you sure are blessed. Life is a beautiful thing.”
You woke up with aches and pains. Whether emotional or physical or both.
Isn’t that the point?
We woke up.
We’re given another chance.
Another day filled with options, opportunities, challenges to be overcome, pain to be felt and learned from, love to feel and spread, beauty to experience.
We have another chance to do it right.
We woke up.
I love the serenity prayer.
Speaking to our Higher Power, whatever or whoever we believe and however we believe, we ask:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference…
I cannot change and/or control people, places, things, situations.
I can change me. What I feel. What I do with what I feel. What I think. What I do with what I think. What steps I make to move forward with my own health and life. I can do this with dignity and respect to and for all, including myself always.
We all have that option. Though it might not always be an easy one. It is a good one to strive for. To practice. To decide it is important and worthy, as are we.
IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH
OF LITTLE PIECES
I RIPPED THEM UP
I PUT THEM THERE
THEY HURT AND THEY CRY
AND THEY KIND OF KNOW
THEY ALWAYS KNEW
THEY ALWAYS KEPT
I ALWAYS KNEW
I GUESS THEY’RE PEACE
EACH BROKEN SHRED
THEY’RE SITTING THERE
STARING AT ME
THEY’RE ALWAYS MINE
SO WHAT DO I DO WITH
THEM EACH PIECE?
I GUESS I SUPPOSE MAYBE
THE POINT THE NEED
THE URGE THE
IS TO FEEL THEM
THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE
IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH OF
I RIPPED THEM UP
I PUT THEM THERE
AND I DON’T WANT TO
THEY’RE CALLING LIKE AN ANIMAL
SHORN WITH PAIN
MADNESS AND SADNESS
CLAWING INTO EACH PIECE
THEY’RE MY WAY TO HOPE
I’M ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES
I DON’T WANT TO BE
ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES
ARE MY WAY BACK
by Daphne Shadows