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Holiday Compassion in Action

There is a lot of information about how to “survive” the holidays but won’t you like to do more than just survive wouldn’t you like to thrive?  

Your mental health is one of the most important things on any given day, let alone on the holidays.  And many of the stress associated with these days comes from unrealistic expectations.    

Not a surprise you say but, how do you deal with it?  How do you get through the holidays without crumbling to these unrealistic expectations?  Well, the first step is to be compassionate with yourself. 
 Being compassionate with yourself is to first recognize that you are human, that you are limited in what you are capable of doing and that you don’t have to be perfect.   All of this is done without shame and blame being placed on yourself or on others. 

This in no way is letting yourself off the hook, because who knows you better than you know yourself?  Being compassionate is to be concerned with alleviating suffering — our own and that of others.  It means that, when we make mistakes or harm other people and deny responsibility for our actions, we will inevitably be causing further suffering and won’t learn or grow from our experiences. We will keep ourselves stuck in the same unproductive cycle of behavior that will plague us over and over again.  So, to be compassionate is to take responsibility and correct our mistakes — because we care and want to do more than just survive we want to thrive.

When we are compassionate with ourselves and other we might feel guilt about the effects of our actions.  This is appropriate and can lead to us making amends.  Guilt is not the same as shame and doesn’t effect our self concept.  Rather, self-compassion allows us to turn toward and face the difficult feelings that arise when considering our own mistakes and misdeeds, meaning that we can see ourselves as we really are and then do the things that are need to make things better. 

May you be compassionate with yourself and others! And may you find moments of joy in the coming days. 

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