The holiday season is in full swing, and it can be easy to feel obligated to meet someone else’s expectations of the season, gathering or an event. We often feel pressured to show up, whether we want to or not, or, whether it’s even healthy for us to, and put on the show of what’s expected only to feel resentful later. Well, the truth is, you don’t owe anyone anything at your own expense.
For me, early in my journey, I had to really ask myself before accepting an invitation or making a commitment to an event or holiday gathering, if I should really be there. And, I don’t mean that you think you should be there, I mean, should I really be there. We often put ourselves second behind what we think others want or expect and we can put our own mental, spiritual or physical health at risk doing what we think we should, instead of doing what we actually should. Our obligation is to ourselves, to our own health and mental well-being, and sometimes that doesn’t align with the calendar, or someone else’s planned event. It’s OK to say no if that’s what you need for yourself.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, there may be those who will tell you it is, probably the host/hostess, or perhaps family or a spouse, but if bowing out of a gathering is what’s best for you, then there shouldn’t be any resistance to doing what’s best for you, but, many times there is. We’ve all felt obligated to go along with what’s expected and then paying the price emotionally later, or, even in the moment, we say we’re not doing that again, but we do. We have to learn to set boundaries and we also have to put our own well-being ahead of what others want.
I have found that staying in the moment helps. If I stay in the moment and ask myself if it’s really a good idea to participate in something, without getting ahead of myself or projecting what I think will happen, or what the result may be, I can keep things honest. If I’m not feeling up to attending I let it be known, and if I can explain why without hurting someone else, or perhaps exposing myself in a certain light to those who may not know me that well, then I share why I feel it’s important for me to pass at that time. Otherwise I excuse myself from attending by giving a short apology for not feeling up to it and let it go. People may not be supportive of this decision, but again, as long as you feel you are doing the right thing, then those people are going to have to find a way to let it go, or not, but our safety and health comes first.
It can be so easy to feel pressured to do things and attend functions that are not in our best interest, especially at this time of year, but you don’t owe anyone your peace of mind just to suit their needs. Do what’s best for you, and maybe it is attending, but excusing yourself early if you feel uncomfortable, whatever it is that allows you to honor who you are and the path you are on, that may just be the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel obligated to show up for everything you’re invited to, or are expected to attend? How do you feel when you do? Do you feel angry or resentful when you are there not being able to enjoy yourself? Then why do you go? Why do you put others’ expectations ahead of your own needs? How can you stop yourself from doing that in the future? Have there been times when you have? List an example. How did you feel after? We all can feel like we have to somewhere when we don’t or shouldn’t, but every time we do we tell ourselves our wants and needs are not as important as someone else’s, we tell ourselves that we are not as important and what we need doesn’t matter, it does. Be true to yourself and what is best for you, not everyone will always understand, but if they truly care about you they should honor it, as they should for themselves.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you