Season’s Greetings!

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The holidays are upon us! When I was a kid, I remember watching movies and T.V. shows that presented the holidays as a picture perfect time for family and friends. I’m thirty-six now, and I’ve NEVER had a perfect holiday season. I’ve learned a lot over the years about letting go of that perfection and embracing who I am and who my family is. 

Because of those lessons, I wanted to take a few moments and encourage you all to do four things:

1). Appreciate the people around you. That could mean your family, your best friend, or that nice barista at your favorite coffee shop. If you are blessed with family and friends, take some time to appreciate them for who they are. It’s is much easier to be critical, but remember, we all have flaws. I love my family, but no one knows how to irritate you better than a sibling or parent. As for me, I tend to turn conversations into debates without realizing it when sometimes a friend or family member just needs me to listen to them. 

Instead of focusing on the rush of the holidays and making my Christmas celebration perfect, I plan to take time to visualize and verbalize two things about each of my family and friends that I adore. I want to carry those thoughts with me into the new year.

2). Don’t forget to appreciate yourself! Self-love is a good thing. I promise. It’s alright to acknowledge and be proud of the things that you’ve accomplished. Take a moment for yourself, even if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom. Look in the mirror and tell yourself at least two things that you LOVE about yourself. 

For me, I love my willingness to grow and my appreciation for the world around me. Also, I’m a FULL-TIME WRITER! ME! That’s something to be proud of and I’m still wrapping my mind around it.

3). Don’t go crazy with the self-love and forget that you’re not perfect! A very important part of the season that is often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the holidays is self-introspection. I don’t mean make a New Years goal to lose weight. I mean, look inward and think about how you’ve developed over the year. Have you gotten better in some ways? Appreciate your accomplishments! Are there things you need to work on to become a better person? What better time to start than with a fresh new year? Again, everyone has flaws and acknowledging them is how you become a better person.

I think it’s important to note here that you shouldn’t only focus on either your flaws OR your positive characteristics. Human beings are wondrously complex, so don’t do yourself an injustice by not looking at your full character.

For myself, I’m proud of how I’ve grown as a person over the last year. I’ve matured a bit (yes, it only took thirty-six years to do). I’m getting better at thinking of the future and controlling impulsive behavior. What I’ve not progressed in is my emotional maturity. I am excellent at juggling/avoiding a ton of stress and situations, but actually dealing with that stress and those situations is an entirely different story. I need to work on facing my anxiety and the possibility of failure. Everyone fails and it’s okay to do so. Instead of putting upsetting situations to the back of my mind and focusing on the here and now, I plan on facing them and understanding why I feel the way I do and what I can do about it. I plan on taking control of my life.

4). Remember, you’re not alone! You are literally ONE person on a planet full of people, and that’s not considering all the people who came before you. That’s a scary thought, but also very liberating. I love thinking about the concerns of my ancestors and how similar they are to my own concerns now. Over the next few days, I plan on spending some time with my dad to talk about relatives that passed away before I was born. I want to know them and remember them. I want to acknowledge our connection and similarities. Celebrate your cultural heritage. It’s a part of you. 

As for the present, are you worried about making ends meet? Other people are too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Are you unhappy about something? Someone out there is too and can share your experiences. This is a big world with many different communities. When you find yourself feeling lonely, reach out! If you need anyone to talk to, send me a message on Facebook or e-mail me. You aren’t the only one who needs that connection sometimes.

At some point last year, I got so excited about one of my favorite authors joining my Facebook group. I couldn’t immediately think of anyone to tell that would really understand the significance of it, so I messaged one of my readers. She had previously messaged me and we had spoken, but this time I took the initiative. She shared my excitement and it was a very special moment for me. Don’t be afraid to reach out in a way that’s comfortable for you.

Overall, take time to relax and have some fun. I’ll see you all next year! 

— C.W.

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