As winter settles in, so does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And as we all know, with the holiday season comes the onset of social gatherings, expectations, and loads of good old Christmas music. I can’t help but feel, as I often do, that there is room to tap into the meaning of it all.
The holiday season can have a tendency to feel like it’s all about gifts and succumbing to the commercialization of it all. And while this is evident everywhere we turn, I believe that we get to choose how to perceive and navigate it. If you follow my messaging, you won’t be surprised to hear me say that perspective is the one thing we do get to choose – always.
For me, the holidays are a time to slow everything down and genuinely take it all in. I’ve learned that truly being present and hearing what is being said, gives me the space to genuinely enjoy gatherings. It may sound cliche or even trite …. but being present has a couple very powerful outcomes. Not only does it give us space to simply enjoy the time because we’re being truly present … it significantly reduces the potential triggers that we can experience when we are with family or in environments that require us to perform.
If you want to get better at being present … put a notepad and a pen beside your bed. Every night, for the next ten days, write down what you saw that day and why you are grateful for it. And repeat that with each of your five senses. When I do this exercise, I only let myself write down what I recall being genuinely mindful of, and grateful for in the very moment. So right off the bat, this will tell you how present you are. And this also brightens up some neural pathways to help you start to see grateful moments more often.
When we can be present with people, and hear the exchange, it means that we are not attaching our own story to another person’s words. It means that we are not hearing how to solve. It means that we are not preparing our advice or perspective. Being present means that we are listening to understand. This is why it reduces the potential trigger … because we are hearing the other person’s words for what they are, and attaching nothing to them.
This holiday season, let’s take a pause and truly hear what is being said. Being present is a gift for ourselves and for the people we love. It induces connection and aligns us with compassion. I don’t know about you, but those two things sound a whole lot like something good old saint nick might say.