The holidays can be stressful for a lot of people if only for the expectations that are placed on the importance of it being “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” If you’re anything but merry and bright, something must be fixed immediately until you’re wearing sleigh bells and having a holly jolly Christmas, dammit.
Big shocker here, but I tend to disagree. Don’t get me wrong in that I love the holidays and do my darndest to be positive, but things happen. You really can’t plan emotion—yours or how someone else will react — and fighting what comes up takes you farther away from that feeling of “Peace on Earth” (or at least peace inside) that we should strive for throughout the year.
Of course this doesn’t apply only to the holiday season, but let’s stay in the present (no pun intended.)
While sadness, anger, frustration, etc. are often considered negative emotions, I don’t necessarily think that’s always the case. They can be clues and signs of things you should give a little more introspection to or simply a reminder to get your head out of your ass and gain a little perspective. I think a majority of people feel that if they’re not “on” and happy all the time, they have to hurry up and fix it. For me, that causes more stress and the cycle continues.
So sometimes you have to put it in emotional neutral and idle.
Sometimes you just have to be and then be OK with that and whatever might happen from that point on. It doesn’t mean you have to like it or that it’s permanent, but rather that it’s simply how you’re feeling at the time. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel—just slightly more productive ways to react to those feelings (freaking out like a three-year-old and flinging noodles across a restaurant would be considered a negative reaction, for example.)
Because despite how it may seem, I am actually quite calm and neutral on a daily basis—not too up, not too down. Yes, there are moments when I can’t shut my head off, when I wake up and am launched into an unintentional mental marathon and want to fling noodles at people. But then there are moments where I am completely content and neutral. I’m not at peace with a lot of things about myself and I struggle on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean I’m constantly at war with them either.
I think I accept my struggles, and although that doesn’t make them go away or “fix” things, it makes them easier to acknowledge and to find healthier ways to react.
Sometimes seemingly minor things come up and I get frustrated when I can’t figure out what I’m feeling, or more specifically, why I’m feeling what I’m feeling (enter urge to fling things.) When this happens, I kind of want to run away from it and distract myself–you know the rest of the story.
My point was that sometimes it’s OK to be frustrated, to be sad, to be pissed and not know why. It’s OK to cry for no good reason, to want to be alone, to feel like a ticking time bomb of testiness. It’s OK to actually feel emotion that wasn’t planned, that wasn’t expected and that wasn’t exactly timely (the holiday season, a birthday, a random Monday morning.)
During the holiday and any day, you can feel things without knowing why and acknowledge them or you can feel things without knowing why and fight against them. Although it doesn’t always happen, I prefer to idle in neutral, sit back and take in the scene before judging the emotions that come up.
And if I’m still feeling anything but merry and bright, I head for the bowl of flingable noodles or sharp pointy ornaments and it’s full speed ahead.