Posted by: forfreedomalone | 18/12/2010

Yuletide Sanity?

As Christmas rapidly approaches stress levels equally rapidly soar. No matter where they are people complain about there not being “enough hours in the day” to accomplish all that they want to accomplish. A patently ridiculous claim, when you think about it, as there are the same number of hours in every day no matter the time of year. Expectations rise annually of being more organised, less stressed, more family orientated that last year and yet, annually, people become less organised, more stressed and less family orientated. The desire for the perfect Dickensian Christmas does not diminish with the passing years but somehow the attainment of that desire becomes more and more remote.

Recently, I had a client tell me that she knew she came from a dysfunctional family (a revelation to many people, yet hardly surprising when we consider that we were raised by humans who were raised by humans; flawed from start to finish); she knew that she was dysfunctional, that she had numerous problems in her life and so did her siblings, BUT why couldn’t Christmas just be one time when all that could be set aside and they could all get alone. I am sure my face was a picture!

Why do we want such perfection on Christmas Day? Why do we drive ourselves to the point of breakdown to achieve the unachievable? What are we really trying to achieve?

We are naturally programmed to desire perfection. It is the drive which propels us to try, try and try again. We want better than we have and we believe we can have it by hard work. If we just do more we will have more. So we set higher goals, we plan and we strive; and we fall in a knackered heap. Yet another year has passed and our dream is shattered. We have fought with all our relatives, undercooked the turkey, drunk too much and avoided murder and a nervous breakdown by a whisker.

How can it be any better?
1 Recognise that Christmas is a day, it is NOT the last day of your life into which you must throw everything you have. It is one day in your entire year. It will come back in 365 days and you can have another crack at it.

2 Note what you feel you can manage with ease, don’t add to that list. If you have never cooked a turkey now is not the time to try. If you have never hosted half your spouse’s family, give it a dry run next year, before Christmas.

3 But if you are committed to hosting people you either do not know or cannot stand and cooking food you have never cooked before, remember why you are doing it. This is a family bonding event and that requires give and take. Your aggravating sister is always aggravating, you won’t change her today; your brother who allows his kids to run riot in your home allows that every time he visits, you won’t make him see the error of his ways today; your unhelpful spouse will not have an injection of  helpfulness just because it is Christmas. You trying to control the behaviour of everyone in your home will aggravate them just as much as their behaviour aggravates you and peace will be next year’s dream yet again. You are a human being not a human doing.

In the  final analysis perfection is measured in joy and peace, not turkeys, maids, lords, partridges or trees. Just ask Gobnait O’Lúnasa 

May you all know peace and joy this Christmas.


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