Good, emotional health isn’t just about knowing what goes wrong. It’s also about knowing what works!
Do you know what works for you. Knowing your own strengths, your own happiness, and where you feel grounded is important for good, emotional health. Doing emotional recovery work is exhausting, requires commitment, and is not all about complaining. It’s all about changing so we are not trapped. The good news is that change brings hope and increased forward movement. Movement towards a new emotional norm that is more fulfilling. So this holiday, I’m addressing holiday expectations and setting your own norms.
I know not everyone has the kind of Thanksgiving that is promoted on T.V. In fact, no one lives the Beaver Cleaver holidays or the Brady Bunch holidays. Those are actors who speak perfectly because of writers who have thoughtfully created a dialogue that mimics our greatest desires! It’s just not REAL! Real lives and real families are complex and messy. Finding yourself among the muck and mire is your responsibility. That’s the good news. Because you can do something about how you feel. Some of you are going through separations, divorce, loneliness, don’t get along with family, feel left out, can’t be with loved ones because of work….whatever it might be. Your Thanksgiving Day may not look like ones on T.V. Why should it? That is ok, because it doesn’t exist. Having an expectation that it is supposed to be something it’s not is like trying to make something unreal come alive. The mad scientist already tried that with Frankenstein…..we all know what happened there. Expectations are wanting what we do not have. That has nothing to do with Thanksgiving or the spirit of Thanksgiving. Why do we expect “perfection?” When you don’t trust yourself, like yourself, are critical of yourself, you rely on these imaginary expectations…..hoping that “maybe that will make me happy!” The issue isn’t the expectation as much as the source….Y-O-U. You are carrying the negative self beliefs. You are the vessel by which things happen. If that vessel is broken, you bring that brokenness into your holiday expectations.
You have the power to create an experience that speaks to who you are and your truth; a holiday you feel good about. If you are feeling distress about Turkey Day, give yourself a gift. Forget what is considered a “typical” holiday. Do what you need to do for yourself. Maybe you don’t like turkey. Maybe you get along better with your friends than your family. Maybe you don’t care about Thanksgiving at all. Maybe your best family and friends are your pets! Learn to make it what you need. Be grateful for what is your life, your experiences, your heart, your S-E-L-F. Being grateful for yourself allows you to give to others with a loving, open heart. Having an open heart means forgiving hurts, accepting yourself and others as broken, and trusting you have what you need, instead of an expectation. When you love yourself, you can love others generously!!!!
Surrender the expectation of an artificial holiday and grasp the concept of your S-E-L-F and expect the brokenness of others over the holidays. Turkey Day can look like whatever you need it to look like. KNOW YOURSELF! Whether you are just beginning therapy, deep into recovery, or looking for help, I wish you peace, love, and hope during this Thanksgiving holiday. I thank you for reading my blog, for being a client, a friend, a family member, and mostly for being you! Be thankful for you. Be thankful for yourself.