Good news! No matter what your life situation is, or how the past holiday seasons were, you can have a wonderful Christmas.
As a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist, I have helped many people transform their holiday blues to joy. The clients had many painful childhood memories of Christmas. It reminded them of adults fighting about the presents to give, the tree decorations, the meals to serve, and whom to invite for the holidays. The men and women recalled being given no gifts, or feeling disappointed of the presents they did receive. For some clients the holidays intensified their loneliness and loss of what they once did have, because they were divorced or some family members or friends were no longer close or were deceased.
There were also numerous cases of people suffering from post-holiday depression. Their unrealistic expectations set them up for devastating disappointments. They had hoped that they would finally feel loved, accepted and appreciated by their family members when they went home for the holidays. Instead, they experienced the familiar, painful feelings of separation and criticisms.
To assist the clients, I developed a process I call HART, which stands for Holistic And Rapid Transformation. This is one of the HART exercises I used to help these men and women welcome the holiday season and continue to feel good after all the celebrations.
Imagine that your loved ones are in front of you, whether or not they are presently alive, and say the following words:
“I forgive you for all the things you did and said that did not feel good to me. I now understand that you were in a lot of pain and you did the best that you could at the time. If you were capable of doing things differently, you would have. I accept that you are basically a loving, kind being, you never meant to hurt me, and you didn’t always know how to express your caring. I realize that no matter what you said or did, I am okay.”
“I forgive myself for all the times I did not act in a loving way because of my pain. I am learning from my mistakes and letting go of the past. I am beginning to believe that I deserve to feel good and to be loved. I am beginning to accept that I am lovable, good enough, worthy, important, attractive, and intelligent. I now realize that I have the power to create my happiness by giving from my heart unconditionally to others and by allowing others to give to me. I understand that my positive thoughts, words and actions are magnetic and draw to me the same.”
“I choose to make this holiday and post-holiday season the first of many wonderful, loving experiences and a model for my daily year round way of living from my heart. I now associate the true spirit of Christmas with love and peace, and I am grateful for the holidays that remind me of the most important things in life. My focus each day is not on what I have accomplished but how much I have expressed caring to others and myself. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to give to others, and for all that I receive. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!”
Once you are in the spirit of Christmas, it helps to understand specifically what valuable gifts you can offer others. Even though each one of us is unique, our problems and needs are basically the same. We all want and need to feel okay, worthy, good enough, important, attractive, intelligent, and lovable no matter what our age, social status, color or religion. So give someone a precious present for the holidays (or any time) by telling them or showing them by your deeds or gift how wonderful they are and how much you appreciate them.
If your funds are low, you can still give the most valuable commodity, yourself. For example, make gift certificates offering to: give a back or foot rub, drive them someplace, do their food shopping, clean their windows, repair something, read them a book of their choice, help them problem solve, walk their dog, play a game they like, wash the dishes, cook dinner, paint a room, teach them something they want to learn, or listen to them for an hour. You can also give them something of yours that you think they will appreciate.
If you do not have a family to share with, give yourself a gift and send yourself a loving card expressing how much you appreciate you. You can also give gifts and/or volunteer your time to a service organization such as Big Sister/Big Brother, Salvation Army, or a Nursing Home, Hospital, or School. Open your heart to these people and feel the joy of giving to others. In the act of giving, you will receive a great deal. Focus on the spirit of the holidays, focus on love and you will feel great joy and inner peace which is your greatest contribution to world peace!