Happy Holiday Energy!
Happy Holiday Energy!
Happy Holidays! Whatever type of holiday you celebrate, I wish your celebration to be wonderful. Tired of hearing and saying this and not knowing what the heck it means? I have to admit I’m a bit of a bah-humbugger (not sure of the spelling here). I’m not in love with the holiday part of this time of year. I do enjoy this time of year, especially living in the Northeast. I like the weather changes, the cold, crisp air and how it makes me feel alive. I like the time to reflect and how the end of one year and the start of another seems to inspire us all in some magical way. The part I don’t like is the mindlessness that we have fallen prey to in our overly commercialized culture, but let’s not focus on that.
Let’s focus on what’s important here: relationship. I had a great conversation with a friend who was asking me why I was a bah-humbugger. I said I don’t need a holiday to be kind to others, to be grateful for the blessings in my life, to be reflective or thoughtful, to buy someone I care about a gift, to give back, or to eat great food! She pointed out the one thing I was missing…the time with family and loved ones. Yes, the holidays create this great excuse for us to congregate, and for some, it is the one time each year we get to see each other. She was right, that was the important part that I was overlooking.
Some of those relationships are tough, though. Some are not as wonderful as they used to be or as they ought to be. Some people don’t do or say what you wanted them to. Some said bad things about you to others, and so on, and so on. This is where the holidays have the potential to take a bad turn.
In the corporate work that I do, we ask people where they put most of their energy. Work, duh. And that makes sense, especially in terms of contact hours. We spend more time at work than we do at home and that is just the nature of the beast these days. While changing that is an entirely different story, the one thing we can change is the kind of energy we spend at home. When asked honestly, most of us have to admit that we craft our words and direction of energy at work much more carefully than at home. We are nicer to our boss than our spouse. We are more patient with an annoying co-worker than our children. We think before we speak in a boardroom and blurt out all our pains irresponsibly in our living room. We prepare for meetings at work and consider family meetings a last resort when things are falling apart.
Why is this? Habit and culture. My best guess is that if you lose your job, it would be bad and have dire consequences, so behaving properly becomes a priority. If you lose your spouse to divorce, you are just part of the 50% of marriages that fail, so what’s the big deal. If your kid stops talking to you, they are a brat and ungrateful and have no idea what you sacrifice to pay for their damn smart phone and after school activities (that you never have time to make it to anyway). Okay, so this is a dramatization of sorts, but we all have been here in one form or another and can relate to this, even if it’s just a little.
Maybe try this, try putting the kind of energy you put into your thoughts and words at work…at home. Just for a day, see if you can rally the mindfulness and energy to be the person you know you can be, take advantage of the mushy generosity the holidays provide, and see what happens. In case you are in denial, what happens is you get the most amazing return on your energy that you can possibly imagine.
And then try that everyday.
Relationships are what it’s about. There’s a great song that goes, “I never saw a hearse with a trailer hitch.” It’s a Country song, of course, but it’s spot-on. What do you want to take with you?
Happy Holidays! Make some magic where there was none.
Best, Dr. Jenny