Has Someone Stolen Your Christmas Spirit?
Who stole your Christmas?
Chasing away the Christmas blues.
Okay, so you've suffered some trauma at the hands of someone you love or have loved in the past. Maybe it's your first Christmas without that person or it could be your tenth. Be it your first or your tenth though, understand that much of your problem is your own state of mind.
All around you see twinkling lights, images of Santa Clause and beautiful winter wonderlands. You see the commercial ads on television of the dashing young men presenting jewelry and cars to the women in their lives while you sit back smirking or you just get plain depressed watching it all happen for other people but not yourself.You try hard but you simply cannot muster a single inkling of Christmas cheer. So you don't put up a tree, you buy the obligatory gifts for those who are expecting them but you find no joy whatsoever in finding the perfect gift or in it's pending presentation.What to do, what to do?
Something has happened to rob you of the joy of the holiday season and you don't know how to get it back. Do you just give up and give in to those dark, heavy, oppressive feelings and sit on your couch feeling sorry for yourself or do you take back the joy that you've been robbed of?
You may not think so, but with a little determination and drive, you can take it back! It's yours and no one has the right to steal it away from you.
How do you do it? The first step is to realize that people only have the power over you that you, yourself give them. You've given someone the power to make or break your day, month, year, or even to control your sleeping and eating habits.You've given that person or even some circumstance the power to make you feel less of a person and to emotionally and psychologically beat you down. You've let their words and deeds become your life's blood and sustenance. Well, its time say "No more!" It is not them that gives you life or death. It is not the ones that hurt you that determine whether you live or die. You're going to live regardless of whether that person you've given all that power to makes or break you. If they've broken you, it's really you that has allowed it to happen.
When you stop and think about it, have you ever had a day that was going well and you felt good and just going about your day as usual and then your significant other or someone else says or does something that just completely changes your mood? With perhaps just one or two words, this person has sucked all the positive elements of your state of mind and your day or some special event right out of you. This other person is now dictating how things will go from that point on.
It's happened to us all. It's part of being human but it doesn't have to be that way. It's really a matter of how much control you want that person or situation to have over your life. Just because your girl, your guy, a coworker or even a stranger says something insensitive or does something to hurt you in some way doesn't mean that you have to be miserable because they've seen fit to ruin your day and in the case of the subject matter of this article, ruining your Christmas!
Thus far, what I've mentioned might be small examples of relationship problems or stresses at work or in the world in general that we all face. Obviously, there are people that experience significant traumas in their relationships that hit them so hard it takes antidepressants and weaving baskets in the local psyche ward to get them over it. But still, the same logic applies.
My older sister was as Bah Humbug this year as a person can be. Years ago she found out her husband was cheating on her and the relationship ended but it still affects her to this day. I'd asked her to pinpoint just what it is that controls her emotions to the point where she can no longer find the joy of the Christmas season within herself and her reply was "Roy, (her ex) ruined Christmas for me years ago." I had to ask her how her ex and the break up could possibly ruin Christmas for her now. I pointed out to her that the event didn't happen around Christmas and that even if it had it's in the past. That was over 10 years ago that the relationship crashed and burned. She's over him and has been over him for years but she hasn't forgotten the hurt. "Well, join the club, Sis" I told her. We've all been hurt badly at one time or another in our lives. We cannot avoid the rain that falls in our lives. But, we can control how it affects you with a little determination and self empowerment. So, as I've shared with my sister, I shall share with all of you.
I've been hurt by an unfaithful spouse. I've been cheated on and treated cruelly by some of the men I've loved and I sat on my pitty-potty for a while, marveling at the injustices I've suffered at the hands of others. I wondered why my sympathetic friends and family couldn't make me feel better and why God wouldn't take away my pain. I was angry as much as I was hurt. I threw darts at my wedding photos and tore them up afterward and threw my wedding and engagement rings away in a public trash can which probably made some scrounger very happy if they'd been lucky enough to find these symbols of love that had at one time meant so much to me but were symbols of pain now. Then one day came the realization that it was up to me to reclaim my happiness and to take back the power I'd given the person that hurt me. I realized that it was within my own power to take back what was rightfully mine. I became determined to reclaim my own life and joys that come with it, like the joy of Christmas and other special times.
It was Christmas day and I was alone being that my ex husband had our daughter at his happy little abode, complete with his new wife and family I'd made for them that my epiphany came.
Instead of turkey and dressing I was eating a Stouffer's French Bread Pizza on my couch. None of my family lived close by and I had volunteered to work the morning shift on Christmas day so one of my coworkers could be with his family. I'd been invited to friends homes for Christmas dinner but I turned them all down because what was the point? I would have just been a wet blanket.
Munching away on my over-cooked, way too crunchy pizza, I then realized that my cheating, lying, insensitive ex husband had not only destroyed our marriage but he'd robbed me of the joy that any and all joyous occasions could have brought me and that it had been that way since our split. It was a moment which I still look back on with great relish. It was like Independence Day for me. It was the defining moment in my life when I took control and reclaimed my self respect. It wasn't easy to reclaim that power that I'd so freely given away, but this is where determination really kicks in.
I told my sister not even one week ago to this day of writing this article the same thing I told myself years ago. I said "Sis, this man broke your heart. He was completely at fault and wrong to do what he did to you, but it's in the past. He robbed you of your marriage and the happiness you both shared before he was unfaithful and might have shared with one another in the future. But are you really going to let him continue to rob you of any future happiness that you might have or are you going to take the power back?" I asked her if she realized that what she was doing was letting him still have control of her life. I told her, he's stealing your joy and has been stealing it for years just as I had allowed my ex to steal mine. I pointed out to her something my best friend Lona told me at the time of my break up with my husband. She probably was sick and tired of hearing my doom and gloom whining and I know that she loved me enough to just come right out and say "Damn it girl, get mad! This isn't you! Get off your butt and quit feeling sorry for yourself!" It hurt at first to hear her say that but then I realized she was right. I'd been allowing him to dictate how I was going to feel about everything, everyday of my life! I told my sister the same thing and she too now has realized how much power she'd given to a no good, cheating, lying, Bastard of an exhusband that she hasn't even spoken to in years.She knows I'm right and her spirit is brightening a little more, day by day. So, for all of you who have been where I've been or suffered other traumas at the hands of another, here is my sage advice.
1. I don't care how dorky you feel while doing this, I want you to stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself "Have I given someone or something the power to rule over my emotions and to dictate how i will live my emotional life?" If the answer is "yes", then take the next step. (Don't worry. Talking to yourself in the mirror for this purpose does NOT mean the Cookie Wagon is on it's way to collect you.)
2. Reach deep down inside and instead of feeling sad this time, exchange that feeling and change it into sheer determination. Get angry if you have to! (As long as you don't get so worked up that your ex ends up in a box on it's way to Bolivia. No stupidity or irrational acts allowed!) Look at yourself in the mirror and say "No more, no how, no way, am I going to let anything or anyone control my days and nights or to dictate my future happiness. I'm taking back the power and I'm taking it back now!"
3. I also want you to make an agreement with yourself. Write it down and put it some place where you'll see it every day until you don't need it to remind you anymore. Make it a binding contract with yourself and sign it too Write this down (or in your own words if you like), "From this day forward, I pledge to be a friend to myself and to love and to respect myself despite my insecurities and/or faults. If I have a fault that is harmful to myself, I can and will correct it. I will not depend on others for my happiness nor will I allow them to take from me what is rightfully mine, which includes my spirit or any factor of my emotional well being. I know that if I cannot be a friend to myself or love and respect myself, no one else will either. I know that once I learn to love and respect myself I will become a more confident, happy person and I will begin to attract the kind of people to myself that will love and respect me as well. I know this wont be easy and it will take determination and effort on my part and some days I will slip and fall but that's alright because I'm gonna get right back up again and keep trying until it is so much a part of me that no one can ever take it away from me again. I am the one that will determine where I go from here and how much I will allow the actions of others to control myself and my emotions. I have the power to make anything happen that I want to happen in my life. My future is in my own hands. I alone have the power!"
It may feel a bit corny at first but who cares? You're the only one who is going to see it. You'll find that everyday you read your own words that your will and determination will increase with more and more conviction. Don't just mumble the words either, shout it out louder and louder as much and as many times it takes for you to really feel it. You'll feel the power that you're taking back from those people and things that have hurt you and robbed you of your joy and it will feel damned good! You'll find that you're more sociable and approachable and you'll also find yourself wanting to be kinder and more of a friend to yourself and others. You'll be giving yourself a gift and a huge measure of satisfaction by taking that piece of yourself away from whomever it was that had stolen it. It doesn't matter whether they know about it or not. What's important is that you know it! You wont have to say a word. The people around you will see the change in you.
Now, I must for a moment address the spiritual side of things. I'm sure that some of you might have noticed that I've only mentioned God once in this hub. The reason for that is that not everyone is religious and I want to give advice that is welcome to all so I will say that personally, while I'm a believer, I don't wish to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat.
I prayed a lot through the hard times and thought God just wasn't listening. I later found out that he was and that what I've been through was not being ignored by God, nor were my prayers. What had happened to me had nothing to do with God. It was a result of an unfaithful spouse, his will to cheat on me and my refusal to let myself live again for a long time because I just didn't get that it was within my power to change my state of mind and let myself heal, recover and rediscover the power I'd given away.
God doesn't just jump in and fix it all for us. That isn't how it works. He does however give us the strength and the tools we need to turn it into something we can learn from and pass onto others. I wont claim to be a church going, overly religious, pious person but I will say that I do believe in God and I pray and it's helped me through some tough times in my life. So that is all I will say on that subject. Apply it or don't apply it to your life as you see fit. I'm not here to preach the gospel. I'm here to tell you to open your eyes, look deep within yourself and reach deep down and you will find that the power to change your life and the way people make you feel about yourself has always been there and still is there waiting for you whether you're religious or you know it or not. So, I will close this article knowing that I could go on and on and on about self empowerment and affirmations all day but I've given you the basics to hopefully at least get you up and running and on the path to healing and happiness in your life.
I want to wish you all very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I truly hope that I've helped at least one person with this article. Take care of yourselves now and remember that your own happiness is up to you. You can't depend on anyone else for it. It's your job to see to that. Once you accept that then you will be the one in control. ;)
P.S. This is my first hub so bear with me if it's not A+ material. ;)