It’s supposed to be the season of jolliness, apparently, yet those who work in emergency services and at hospitals know it’s also the season for increased accidents, suicides and depression. So why is that?
The Christmas season is such a study in contrast — rich/poor, jolly/miserable, giving/getting, gratitude/selfishness. It’s supposed to be the season for happy family get-togethers, coffee that reunites sons and fathers, and skating on open rinks with your beautiful, lovely children. Do you ever feel like American culture is stuck in a time warp? This cartoon hits the nail right on the head (click for larger version)!
Now, I never grew up with Christmas traditions, so I’m in the unique position to see them for what they are — mostly silliness! But I think so many people have bought into them so thoroughly that when some part of their life doesn’t match up, they are severely disappointed. Tis no longer the season for jolliness —
Tis the season for self-pity!
When you feel even mildly disappointed or discouraged, catch yourself before you sink into a full-blown self-pity party. Stay happy anyway. So what if your family won’t be together for Christmas. Or maybe seeing your family stresses you out — stay happy anyway. Do something you enjoy, whether it’s part of the traditional model or not. Don’t feel like you have to go skating with your tots just because that’s the traditional thing to do (you don’t even have to have kids, but that’s a whole other blog post)! You don’t have to make a 10-course meal. You don’t have to buy presents for everyone you know, or send out a hundred Christmas cards if you don’t want to. It’s 2011 — you don’t have to do what the baby boomers did! When you compare yourself to others, or to the idealistic traditional model, and feel like you come up short, you can get upset and slip into self-pity pretty easily.
Grumpy people are actually entrenched in self-pity, and grumpy people don’t attract happy situations. So don’t be grumpy! You don’t have to be a pollyanna, just be yourself and stick your tongue out at some of those silly traditions! And of course, the best way to beat self-pity is with gratitude. Christmas would benefit from more thankfulness!