Episode 13 - Why I don't believe in "SURVIVING" the Holidays

Show Transcript Below:

Why I don’t believe in surviving Podcast Episode 13

It is the holiday season and after a couple weeks away from the podcast, I am excited and fired up about today’s episode. It’s going to come out on Christmas day and it’s perfect because I know that Christmas and the New Year are times of deep emotion and deep reflection.

AND I know that a lot of you really struggle with some sadness and some heaviness and some emotional stuff during the holiday season. And this podcast episode is designed to help you with that and to enlighten you and heighten your awareness about how you view your journey in this life and in this world.

So - I want to talk about why I don’t believe in the concept or the idea, or the mindset of surviving the holiday season. I’m seeing a lot of stuff pop up online about the holiday survival guide,  And why I think this mindset keeps people stuck in emotional pain, keeps people from feeling their feelings, and keeps people from creating the kind of life they want to create. Because we want to feel equipped and we want to feel alive and we want to THRIVE in our lives AND during the holiday season.

For me, my goal in this life - and I’ve talked about this before - is to live a big huge life. I want to really challenge the limitations and the ceilings that exist in my own mind, and in the minds of my clients and my community - those of you who follow my work.  And having a mindset of surviving anything is just not my thing - it’s not my cup of tea, I hink it really conjures up images of sort of just getting by, skating by, skating through something rather than giving us images of power and a sense of power in our lives and in the world.

And I do have an episode of the podcast - it’s the very first episode I recorded of this podcast and it’s called Why I don’t like the term Trauma Survivor - so you can listen to that to have more a view on my thought process and how I think about the concept and the word “survivor”.

SOOOO  I don’t believe in SURVIVING the holidays.

I don’t subscribe to the whole “surviving” the holidays mentality.

For those of us who have experienced trauma, loss, not-so-great childhoods: consider that the “SURVIVAL” mentality of surviving Christmas may actually be hindering your healing and hurting your emotional health and here is why: 

The idea that the holidays are a time to grit our teeth and bare is just preposterous to me.
AND I KNOW - that I have done a lot of work and written a lot about the experience of trauma, particularly childhood emotional trauma. And I KNOW that MANY of you who listen to me have some not-so-great memories of the holidays because you grew up in families and homes that maybe weren’t the greatest.

Or, maybe you went through a divorce recently or lost someone really important to you. There can be so many reasons why you feel that the holidays are hard and difficult. Okay. And what I am not saying is that you don’t have the right to feel that the holidays are hard. You can feel however you want. And, in fact, I encourage you to feel however you want to feel about the holidays. And we will talk more about the role of emotions in a minute. Okay - so I do honour the fact that you may be experiencing some heavy stuff during the holidays. I, myself, experience this also during the holiday season. I think in part, the coming of a new year, and the nostalgia, can make people emotional - even people who LOVE the holidays. 


When you think about the holidays as something to SURVIVE - I think that there is a big likelihood that you may be thinking this way about your life in general. You probably feel like you need to survive a lot of things in your life. And here-in lies my problem with this.

When you think about the holidays - or any event in your life as something to be survived - YOU ARE REMOVING YOUR POWER FROM YOURSELF. You are coming at your life from the view and the paradigm that your life is happening TO you. And that you are at the mercy of life. And THIS - THIS viewpoint is very insidious - but it is responsible for a lot of our problems, our stuckness, and our difficulties in life.

If you feel that the holidays are something to be survived - than it is likely that you are doing one of these things:

1) Avoiding your true feelings about the holidays - not allowing grief, sadness, or heaviness to come up and being present with it. 

2) NOT CHOOSING how you want to spend the holidays. So you’re surrounding yourself with people you don’t want to be around. You’re running errands you don’t want to run. You’re saying yes when you mean no. You’re thinking that you HAVE to do certain things. 

3) Not getting the support you need. 

4) You’re living in the past and forgetting that you have the power to create the kind of holiday you want to create. You can create new memories - and you can create whatever kind of holiday you want. You can create a family, you can create...

I believe we can create a beautiful experience during the holiday season by CHOOSING to adopt healing as a lifestyle thereby improving the quality of our relationships and life in general (not just for the holidays). 

We can experience all our feelings, all year as they come up AND during Christmas and we can CREATE the experience we DESIRE.

Of course it takes practice and commitment and support. That’s a given.

But we do have power here.

We. Do. Have. Power. Here.

If you’re feeling your feelings - sadness, nostalgia, grieving, some heaviness... these are not something to SURVIVE.

This is the healing process taking place in your life. That in and of itself is a beautiful gift.

So set your boundaries, feel your feelings, choose how you want to spend the holidays,  and know that WHATEVER you are feeling is not about survival. Your feelings - even if they are uncomfortable - are a sign that you are ALIVE. You are here! You made it through that thing. The residue might still be there - the remnants of despair. But embrace it. Embrace the full emotional experience. Always. And you will find that your LIFE, not just your Christmases, gets sweeter and richer.


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