Wherever you look, you see the Christmas decorations appearing everywhere. It looks nice and cozy most of the times :-), so what’s the harm? There is no harm as long as YOU feel good about it. As long as you feel, you can do what you like, and are not obliged to follow the crowd. Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice, your own heart. Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in it. Of course, I am not talking about Christmas decorations only, I am talking about everything in life. Growing up, we are told over and over again, that we should try to fit in, that we should not stand out but make ourselves blend in in society as much as we can. But as Brené Brown* says:
“When you’re trying to fit in, it means that you need to change yourself to look more like the others. But when you belong, you don’t need to change yourself because you already are like the others.” This difference is of vital importance. It’s about either feeling alone, or feeling good. As long as you have to try to fit in, you’ll never belong.
So, I invite you to, first of all find your quiet place**. Listen to your own needs, to your own heart and decide how you want to live your life. Once you live what feels good, your crowd will appear naturally. Engage with likeminded people and you’ll feel the stress, the need to be someone else, disappear like snowflakes before the sun. And yes, maybe you can’t be around likeminded people all the time, but when you make your personal goals (real friends, hobbies, personal growth, silence…) as important as any other goals in life, achieving balance is a natural result. And isn’t that what we are all striving for?
Balance, harmony., peace, quietness.
Of course, there will always be emergencies, there will always be times when things are a bit too busy. But as long as you make your personal goals as important as your professional ones, you’ll always find yourself arriving in calmer waters again.
My invitation to you all is: write down your personal goals in life. Make it a list of small, seemingly unimportant ones, but of course they never are unimportant, and of huge, necessary-to-be-you ones.
What is really important to me?
What do I need to do in order to feel that I am living my own life, to feel that I can be who I really am, what I came here on earth for?
Then write them down. This can be about anything, big and small: about how you spend your weekends, about how you spend the holidays, about what you eat, about your hobbies, about your job, about how you organize your life… about anything. Just make sure you feel the difference between what the ‘real you’ needs, and what you do, trying to fit in. Stop trying to fit in and start belonging. It’s amazing once you start doing things from the heart, being around likeminded people, how ‘suddenly’ all seems ’to fall into place’.
Why am I talking about this now?
Because I always feel that the Holiday Season is the season where everyone feels pressured into doing things they don’t really enjoy, things that drains them of all energy. People feel the need to buy gifts, people feel the need to throw big festive dinner parties, people feel the need to dress in fancy clothes. And again, if that is what you really like, by all means do it. But when I listen and look around me, all I hear is complaining about all the things they are supposed to do. Gifts*** are most of the time unwanted, useless and too expensive. So why do we keep buying them? Dinner parties are most of the times too copious and people feel exhausted afterwards, their bodies protesting vigorously. So why do we keep doing this to our body? We get annoyed and irritated when ‘funny’ remarks are made by people we don’t really get along with but are obliged to sit next to during these gatherings. So, why keep doing this? I think a lot of you know exactly what I mean.
I really would like you to celebrate this season the way you would like it to celebrate:
Talk about the gift buying***, change this habit into something that you enjoy by either not buying anything anymore, or by making the present an activity, or whatever makes you happy.
Say no to dinner parties you know you will feel bad about.
Invite real friends over.
Cook light, healthy meals. Don’t feel obliged to drink alcohol.
Stay home by the fire if that makes you feel happy.
Go outside for a walk instead of sitting at a table for hours…
Fill your holidays with whatever makes you feel energized, warm, peaceful.
The more you live your life this way, the more other people will start doing the same. The more people become honest about what it is they really enjoy, and start living accordingly, the more people will feel free to do so too.
The more you practice bringing balance into your life, the better you get at it and the more natural it will start to feel. Start with the upcoming, very busy month. Then do the same for the new year. Make your personal goals as important as the rest of your life. That’s the way to a harmonious, peaceful, content and healthy life.
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*”Atlas of the Heart” by Brené Brown.
**Previous articles by Katrien Degraeve
***”Less is Yes!” by Katrien Degraeve