Enjoy this month’s featured guest post by my soul sister and dear friend, the fabulous Mary Pritchard, PhD.
In Fall 2013, for the second time in a year, I broke my heel. The first time around, I plowed forward as though nothing was wrong – except for the fact that I was on crutches. I began my second journey on crutches in much the same fashion until one day when a woman I never met asked me, “Why did you break your heel?” After I got over the initial answer and shock, I realized something: everything happens for a reason. My broken heel was but another of life’s lessons.
Maybe you too suffer from a broken bone, or maybe it’s a childhood trauma you never really dealt with, a job loss, a move, or a divorce. Just know that there is a reason behind everything we call to us in life, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time it happens. As Fall turns to Winter, now is the perfect time to go within and heal, to explore past wounds and give ourselves time to really and truly heal. To begin your journey of healing, I’d like to encourage you to explore the element of Earth. It may seem like a funny time to work with an Element that is all but dormant, but just because you can’t see flowers blooming and grass growing, doesn’t mean nothing is occurring. The Earth cycles, just as we do throughout our lives. The difference between us and Earth is that She regularly takes time out of her busy schedule to focus on healing. A lesson we could all learn from!
So what is Earth do-ing during her dormant time? Let me assure you, She is anything but dormant! Earth is recharging, preparing for Spring. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Yeah, like I have time to recharge this holiday season!” But that is why it’s precisely so important to make time for yourself.
Let’s say that you are already dreading the upcoming holidays because you have at least two holiday engagements each week, plus prepping your big family dinner, shopping for ten people, and making sure your house is Martha Stewart worthy. Stop right there! It doesn’t have to be this way! I want you to do something: sit down and take out a pen and piece of paper. Write down what your ideal holiday season would look like – not what other people expect of you, but what you would like. Now ask yourself: How can I change things to make my holiday season (life/work/etc. – you can use this process for anything!) be more in line with the way I want it to be?
Now that you’ve written down your ideal holiday season and brainstormed a few steps you can take to make your life a little less hectic this year (e.g., only do one holiday party a week, make holiday gatherings potluck style, buy a tiny pre-decorated table tree and call it good or go full out on the tree, but do away with the front yard décor, decide to only buy gifts for the immediate family and limit yourself to $100 a person – remember you’re trying to create your ideal holiday here, not other people’s), it’s time to come up with a plan. I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of being a people pleaser, especially around the holidays. To combat that, you have to plan how to avoid the trap – what is the new you willing to do and what is the new you not willing to do? Rehearse how you’re going to say no to Aunt Hilda’s request to go caroling on Christmas Eve, or how you’re going to tell the church you can’t make ten of your famous pumpkin pies for their soup kitchen this year.
You’re probably thinking, “If I’m a people pleaser, then how am I going to avoid feeling guilty about disappointing people?” Re-wire your self-esteem – that is, place more value on the things that matter to you instead of what other people think of you and prioritize your time accordingly. Yes, you may disappoint Aunt Hilda, but her feelings are actually not your problem. Your only concern should be how you are going to take care of you, keep your sanity intact, and react to other’s various ‘disappointments’ this holiday season.
If you still feel like you’re self-esteem is taking a hit this holiday season, it’s time to learn how to be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy. When Aunt Betty reminds you that your sister never seems to have a problem making 10 pies and going caroling, take a minute to stop and breathe. Then ask yourself: “Is it really worth my sanity to cave into Aunt Betty’s request?” If you’re thinking of saying yes, then ask yourself, “If this were my best friend or my daughter or coworker who was having this problem, what would I tell them to do?” If it’s anything besides what you were going to do, then we have a problem.
Last, but not least, when the holiday season seems to have gotten out of control, take a minute to remind yourself of all of the things for which you are grateful. Now pat yourself on the back for doing such an awesome job and go do something nice for yourself!
Mary E. Pritchard, PhD, HHC is the founder of the thriving “Awakening the Goddess Within” virtual community, a Professor of Psychology at Boise State University, an esteemed blogger at Psychology Today and Huffington Post, and a frequent contributor to Aspire Magazine. Mary is passionately dedicated to empowering today’s women in reconnecting with their Inner Goddess, stepping through their perceived fears, and embracing the truth of who they are.
Learn more at www.AwakeningtheGoddessWithin.net and download your free gift, The 10 Signs Your Inner Goddess is Calling You and Tips to Answering this Sacred Call e-workbook.