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Celebrate the Holidays and Appreciate the Beauty and Joy

This time of year is stressful and difficult for many people. For many, it can be a time of having to, having to, having to…

The season is supposed to be filled with joyous celebration, but it can also become a time of challenges. Why is the meat thermometer stuck at 130°? Why did Aunt Mimi run out of the room? You lost the bottle opener when you went camping? Cousin George will be coming because rehab wouldn’t take him?

It’s not obvious that these stressful situations are also opportunities for us to grow. We usually think of problem solving as changing the other person or situation, whether it’s the IRS, Aunt Mimi or your partner. This is usually difficult, frustrating and often impossible. It may be all their fault, and always feels like it, but 80 to 90 percent of our reality is self-generated, so start there. Instead of seeing them as external problems and trying to deal with them as such, we can learn much and feel good if we use them to look inside.

A lump of clay doesn’t turn into a bowl unless pressure is applied, and likewise, these problems are an opportunity for us to grow. We don’t really have much control over our external reality, but we have everything to say about how we deal with what happens to us. If we take the events that cause distress and use them to take a good look at ourselves, they become information on our path, opportunities to learn and change. What are the fear and avoidance aspects of what we are reacting to negatively. How do we feel? Why?

Look at what is coming up – fear, grief, anger, disgust. It may be real, it may be authentic, but more than likely it’s a reaction that we don’t need to have. To do this takes self-awareness. It’s difficult. We can work on it by separating the emotion from the response. It’s fine to have emotional reactions; we don’t have much choice about this, and the more aware of them we are, the better. Where we do have a choice is in whether and how we respond. This is how we get to know ourselves and where personal growth takes place.

Sometimes the events are more serious, including death and unexpected illness. These are things which bring difficulty and great sadness. It is important to grieve and share loss with others. Even in these dire situations, there are opportunities – opportunities for growth, for getting to know ourselves better, and most of all for celebrating the joy and beauty that are also here surrounding us all the time.

In these periods, partners and friends can be wonderful sounding boards. If we have created relationships where we can share without being given solutions, be heard with being fixed, do soul searching out loud, then we can grow closer to ourselves as well as our intimate ones. These support-based relationships can also grow deeper when we share our commonality.

So in this season, let’s celebrate together and share ways to grow towards peace, both inner and outer. Let’s look at the beauty and celebrate joy and each other whenever we can. Let’s not take these things for granted and let’s not forget to play and rejuvenate! We need and rely on each other far more than we are in conflict with each other. Look for that, cultivate those positive emotions, tell everyone, and have a wonderful holiday season.

We love to hear your comments! Leave them at the bottom of the blog by clicking here. Phil reads this out loud here, too.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

Bookshelf In this week's blog, we spoke about celebrating the holidays, appreciating the beauty and joy, and seeing challenges as opportunities. Here are some articles to support you in doing that.

7 Ways to Get Past Tough Situations Quickly "'Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.' -Charles Swindoll. One day everything seems great in your world—maybe not perfect, but overall things are going to plan. And then something happens. You lose your job, or someone you love, or your home, or maybe even your health. It isn’t fair. You don’t deserve it. You didn’t see it coming. You didn’t plan for it. You have so many feelings and frustrations you don’t know what to do first, or if you want to do anything at all."

How to Transform Challenges Into Opportunities for Growth "Challenges are an inevitable part of life. Whether it be challenging times, people or circumstances, most of us can relate to coming up against roadblocks in life that feel hard, unfair, or that can even be devastating at times. Some people face the most unthinkable tragedies and somehow come out the other side stronger. Others crumble under the weight of the pressure and heartache they face."

Things to remember when life seems too hard "It is amazing the power that a good quote has to lift us up and carry us out of our dark places. A great quote shows us the truth of a situation and gets us to think about life from a different perspective. So we’ve dug up 22 of the best quotes to give you a bit of perspective for when life just seems too hard."​

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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