Whenever I am in a situation to tell what this time of year means to me, I wonder if I sound like a Hallmark card. For me, this time of year – and please don’t gasp, and scream “blasphemy!” – is less about its religious connotations and truly about love and joy and empathy.
You have to know me very well to know that I believe, down to my cells, that “Christmas time” is about love of family and friends, joy you can bring to others, empathy for everyone around you – so many of whom are going through great hardships; physically, emotionally or financially. It would be wonderful if this was throughout the year. But, since I am a realist, I make this my expectation, YES, expectation, for the month of December. I want to believe in the best in people. I want to believe that – if only for a month – people could put aside the “me” and think of the “us”. We are all connected, and that connection should be the very reason to let love and joy and empathy rule your intentions and actions in December. I am not oblivious as to the reasons this month is significant. What I do personally is piggyback on the “Good will toward men” theme and expand it so that everyone in any faith can share the sentiment. My not being Christian should not negate my belief in peace and joy, love and good will this time of year.
The hurdles. With all this being said, the reality of this time of year brings stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness… did I mention anxiety? Yes, this is a complicated time of year. Magnets pushing against each other as we navigate through obligations and expectations. It can be overwhelming. For me, the only way to get through this month is similar to drinking LOTS of water between alcoholic beverages. One needs to let your body hydrate and protect itself. The same holds true for holiday time. Instead of hydration, you need to rest and recharge periodically in order to get through unscathed, without a hangover.
Take time for yourself so you can be your best self for others. I had intended to just repost my writing about being a Highly Sensitive Person, before I started this testimonial to good holiday behavior. The truth is that for an HSP such as myself, this time of year is a blessing and a curse. Holiday lighting – blessing. Holiday shopping crowds – curse. Holiday feelings – blessing and a curse. I feel it all… the good, the bad, the sad, the happy… I feel all of it but to the tenth power. In a room of people I can be overrun with the emotions of others and it takes a toll, physically and emotionally. For those who wonder what it’s like to be a highly sensitive person – a character trait, not a disorder, and includes between 15-20% of the population – this is my story.
If you are reading this on your phone, tablet or any other such form of electronics, then you already are more blessed than the 53% of the world without internet access. If you are healthy, then you are more blessed than the estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer in the U.S in 2018. If you have someone to share the holidays with, then you are certainly blessed as an estimated one in five people spend Christmas alone. Count your blessings, of which there are many. Be generous with your kindness and love. The tiniest of gestures can make the greatest impact in a persons life.
Much love to all this December. (and always)