How To Enjoy The Holidays (Especially If You Hate Them) - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

How To Enjoy The Holidays (Especially If You Hate Them)

Holidays are supposed to be those times of the year that we enjoy the most, times of celebration and pleasure and togetherness.  Even if people love holidays, nearly everyone gets stressed out on the holidays and this decreases the overall enjoyment of them.  But for some of us, holidays can be the absolute worst times of the year. Many of us have so much pain around holidays that we have learned to hate them.  The problem is that the holidays never stop coming and so for many of us; they are just something that we have to get through as fast as we can. If you are one of these people, this video is for you.  

Today, I’m not just going to teach you from a transcendental or objective perspective.  I’m going to also teach you from personal experience. I spent the first half of my life hating holidays.  They were the most painful times of year. But today, I can officially say that Holidays (especially Christmas) are now my favorite times of year.  And with a shift in perspective and action, you might just begin to love them too. This is how you can come to enjoy the holidays:    

  1. Don’t buy into that “just focus positive” or “you’re just being a negative Nancy or a humbug” rhetoric.  Changing your perspective about the holidays is about deep healing. It is not as simple and just putting on a smile or focusing positive.  The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved. One of the best ways to make yourself miserable during any holiday if you have had negative experiences with them before is to expect yourself to be happy or put on a happy face or even worse, to enjoy the holiday.  You will fail. This is no more unrealistic than it is to expect someone who had been bitten by a shark to feel happy and carefree swimming. Be honest about where you are with yourself. The reality is you hate holidays and you want to like them. So go towards them with that desire and a commitment to openness and curiosity about how to change your relationship with them instead.
  2. The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved.  This is something you’re going to have to face and work at, not just avoid or hope changes on its own.  You are not wrong to hate holidays. You have every reason to hate them. You would not hate them unless they have been extremely painful for you.  Why do you hate them? What are those painful memories or painful expectations associated with them? How could you make those different or create the opposite experience this time?  I have created a process to resolve this kind of pain . It is called the Completion Process. To use the Completion Process to resolve the pain associated with holidays, just focus on what you hate about the holidays and what you expect to go wrong during them until you feel pain or resistance build somatically in your body and use that as your doorway to the unresolved experience from your past.  To learn how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is literally titled The Completion Process. Doing this process will clearly show you what unmet need you had around the holidays and/or what you need to have be different. From there, you can consciously start to meet those needs and make the holidays different.
    I know that many people who hate holidays don’t really care to prioritize resolving holiday trauma.  But let me offer a perspective that may change this for you. Life throws enough negative curveballs.  If you don’t resolve holiday trauma, what you have is guaranteed future pain. Holidays will not stop coming no matter what continent you’re on.  So you have a guarantee that every year, multiple times a year, you’re going to feel disappointed, be hurt again, resent other people, be the bad guy for ruining everyone else’s cheery mood and feel alienated and like you don’t belong because everyone else seems to fit into society by loving the holidays and keeping up dumb traditions.  I for one couldn’t live with that multiple times a year guarantee of re-traumatization hanging over my head.
  3. Stop justifying your hate for the holidays with the shadows in holidays.  People who have pain around holidays don’t want to face and resolve that vulnerability.  The way they cover up that vulnerability and very personal pain is by justifying their hatred of the holidays using the unconscious or negative side of the holidays.  For example: Valentines Day is just an excuse for card companies and candy companies to sell their products. It should be called singles awareness day instead. Christmas is just a time for consumerism and destroying the world with plastic toys that kids play with for three seconds.  Besides, the only reason people even care about the homeless suddenly on Christmas is because they all want to feel good about themselves, so it’s actually disgustingly egotistical. Thanksgiving is just some dumb day where we over eat with people who annoy the hell out of us. I mean, we killed all the Native Americans anyway, we shouldn’t even be celebrating it… it’s like a bitch slap to an entire culture.  Screw birthdays, people are too self-centered to actually care. Plus, I don’t need any more reminders of how old I’m getting etc. You get the point. The thing is, you are totally right about these shadows. There are lots of totally crap sides to holidays. And you are totally right that most people are totally unconscious of them. But focusing on the shadows in the holidays is just a cover for personal pain.  If it weren’t, you’d simply not make those painful parts of holidays a part of the way that you celebrate them. And consider that awareness is two sided. You may just be totally unconscious of the positive side inherent in holidays. And continuing to focus on all those holiday shadows will continue to motivate you to reject them instead of resolve your pain about them and learn to love them and celebrate them in the way that is uniquely right for you.
  4. Stop being passive about your holiday experience.  Be active and involved instead. When life has gone crap for us because other people haven’t been super concerned with our actual best interests, we develop a ‘life happens to me’ perspective.  Holidays happen to us. This keeps us in the cycle of disappointment. To get out of it, you need to initiate it actually being different. This means planning ahead. You’re going to have to be the one to change it into something other than what it is.  Grab the bull by the horns and allow yourself to have some control over your experience. Make the experience what you want it to be. Be the one to get others on board with this too. It is empowering and once you do it, it will shock you to realize how many other people are just passively hoping that holidays will somehow magically go different each year for them.  The reality is, they wont unless they actively change something.
  5. Take a look at your holiday habits and actively take steps to change them.  For example, you may know by now that you habitually confront everyone on their shadows and become the family scapegoat again, take all the responsibility for the entire holiday so everyone else just shows up, overspend, passively wait for others to make it a good holiday for you and get disappointed when they don’t, overeat, get drunk, say yes to everything and everyone and then feel depleted, take responsibility for bringing people together who don’t put in any energy into togetherness themselves.  Get stressed doing everything last minute ect. Just like a chess game with yourself, get ahead of these habits and shortcut this subconscious momentum by planning so you don’t slip into these habits again. For example, plan how to avoid conflicts, commit to limiting yourself to one glass of wine, exercise the morning of the holiday, commit to the practice of saying no to what you don’t really want to do, give people a date to show up and don’t nag them to come after you have done that, let them take their part of the responsibility of being connected instead.  Budget and don’t go over that budget. Ensure that other people share responsibility for the day. Simplify your holiday to do list. Start shopping months ahead of time etc.
  6. Mine the coal for diamonds.  Experiencing the positive in the holidays entails learning about the holidays, their origins and also how they evolved.  Also how they are celebrated around the world. Also thinking about your own culture or family’s traditions. What you are going to do here is to mine the holidays for what the important parts of each holiday are for you.  What does spark joy? What is worth celebrating? What do you love? There is nothing wrong with doing away with traditions that you don’t like, keeping or adding new ones you do like and borrowing from other cultures etc. For example, maybe you hate the tradition of the thanksgiving turkey, but you love the idea of potluck style feasts.  Maybe don’t spent the holiday with people who you know hurt you every year. Spend it with close friends instead. Consider it like mining through coal for the collection of diamonds inherent in each holiday. Having done this, you’re going to move to the next step.
  7. Create holidays that are like a cocktail of traditions and practices and experiences that you love and that feel right for you.  The worst thing you can do is to simply go through the motions of holidays as if there is nothing you can do about it because it’s just the way things are done.  This means you’re going to have to actively plan and seek out and create those diamond experiences. If it is your birthday, don’t wait for someone to mess up your birthday or test how much they love you by not telling anyone and seeing if someone calls.  Instead, really actively plan and create a day that you want to have.
  8. Get off the fence of obligation.  Obligation is a kind of ‘sitting on the fence state’ whereby you wont say a full yes or a full no to an experience.  The part of you that is subconsciously committed to doing something bulldozes the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing.  This is a form of self-betrayal. Work with those opposing parts of yourself to find a meeting of minds or a third option between them that feels good to them both.  To understand more about how to do this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. I am also going to be doing a video soon specifically on parts work that you can look out for. Take a really serious look at those obligations and obligatory gatherings and decide to either fully commit to them with your free will or to not do it or to do something entirely different.  Living at the mercy of obligation is no kind of life and it will make for a terrible holiday. In fact obligation has a similar vibration to indebtedness. Why are you committed to doing what you don’t want to do and why don’t you want to do it?
  9. Don’t be afraid to celebrate holidays on different days than the actual holiday.  This is a tip that can be one of the most life changing. Believe it or not, but the body holds memory and acts like a biological clock.  If you’ve had trauma around holidays, your body memory is activated on those days. It takes time to un-do that programming. You can disrupt this programming by surprising your biology and celebrating Christmas on the 24th or your birthday on the weekend before or after the actual day.  You have no association to those days, so you can build a new one. You are much more likely to be able to really enjoy it this way. Eventually if you want, once you’ve healed your relationship to holidays, you can go back to celebrating on the actual day and you won’t have the same reaction.
    Celebrating holidays on different days than the actual holiday also helps with family problems.  It is in your camp to decide whether it is healthy for you to be around your family or not. For some of you, it’s just an act of self-betrayal.  But for those of you that hate the way holidays go with the family and know exactly what crap to expect each year, but who also have decided to continue celebrating with family, you have two options.  The first is to try to get the family to adopt new traditions and/or ways of doing things. The second is to just play along with it all. If you play along with it all, celebrating the holiday your way on a different day means that you have already really enjoyed it your way.  The family can’t ‘ruin’ your holiday cause you already did it. Instead, you’re going to show up for the traditional family experience and put your energy into giving them what they want on that day.
  10. When it comes to the people in your family that ruin holidays for you and are not open to a vulnerable, authentic discussion about how to make that different, accept that the people in your family are not going to change.  You will be surprised at how much this can reduce your holiday pain. Give up on them being the picture perfect family, the source of the perfect gift or the perfect experience. Separate your needs from them being the ones to meet those needs.  After all, you’ve never been able to control them into being that have you? The expectation that magically one day it will be different is one of the biggest ways to hurt yourself. Your resistance to the way they are makes perfect sense, but it isn’t going to make them change.  It is only going to leave you chronically disappointed and hurt. For example, if mom can be expected to get you something that you don’t even care about from the dollar store, go there expecting this and not hoping it will be different this year. If dad can be expected to interrogate you about what ‘not up to par’ things you’re doing with your life, surround yourself with people who see the value of what you’re doing and go there prepared with answers to give him beforehand.
  11. Focus much more on the holiday experience you’re going to give people than on the holiday experience you’re going to get.  When we have trauma around holidays, our pain is about the experiences we didn’t get.  As a result, we become self-focused relative to holidays. This actually compounds the pain and causes us to give off an unconscious energy of ‘expecting and taking from and being disappointed by’ other people.  This point is actually the reason that most ‘holiday haters’ start to like aspects of holidays once they have kids. But you don’t have to have children to change this orientation. It feels amazing to actively create enjoyment in other people’s lives.  Throw them a party, take them to see the lights, surprise them with a great gift, bake them something, write them a letter, volunteer for a charity, make a child’s Christmas wish come true, organize a get together, offer them a holiday experience from another culture they’ve never tried.  My holidays really started to change when I started baking all of my neighbors rum cakes and making them handmade candy every Christmas. It was then that I really experienced the opposite of being victimized by holidays. I could be the change I wanted to see in the world relative to them.  And watching their faces light up was infinitely more empowering and felt better than any present anyone could give me. It was also profoundly healing to offer the holiday experiences I never got to have to other people.
  12. Many people experience pain on the holidays because of lost loved ones.  There is no doubt that the absence of loved ones on the holidays or even painful memories of losing loved ones on holidays can create a powerfully painful association relative to holidays.  Something people don’t usually realize is that they hold onto pain as a token of love for whoever they have lost a sense of connection with. That pain becomes their way of staying connected.  One of the biggest barriers to enjoying the holidays can be the fact that if this is what we are subconsciously doing, we suffer through the holidays without them instead of commit to enjoying them instead as a way of staying connected with them.  For example, enjoying Christmas without them seems like a betrayal to them and suffering feels like you’re proving your love and commitment to them. If you think this might be the case for you, you would benefit by doing the guided meditation on my website that is titled:  Replacing The Pain. Ask yourself what they would want for you? What is the best way to honor them or make them feel good if they were looking down on you on this holiday?
  13. Try to expand your consciousness by seeking the beauty and positive in holidays in general.  Ritual is an important part of human health. Humans have been creating holidays since the beginning of time.  There has to be a valuable reason why. For example: They give people an excuse to celebrate and deliberately create enjoyment.  They stimulate the senses. They mark and highlight what is important to us. They can imbue life with significance and specialness and meaning.  They create certainty and predictability in pleasure. They are something to look forward to. They can enhance the gastronomical experience. They can create a sense of continuity, connection and nostalgia across generations.  They are times to connect and gather which is vital to human health. They are times to consciously demonstrate love and enhance social ties and social glue. Group ritual also is critical for children’s developmental health. Look into what value they hold and ask people who love them to tell you why.

When it comes to the holidays, don’t expect that hallmark moment or try to force it.  Even though people’s holiday albums may deceive you, no one’s family or actual experience is like that.  Life (which just so happens to include triggers and needs and mistakes) doesn’t stop for the holidays unfortunately.  Those perfect moments will come when you least expect it. And you can find new ways to keep each holiday meaningful and to take charge of creating ‘uniquely you holidays’ that you can look forward to every year.


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