We all do it – we want others to like us and to think highly of us. We worry about what others will think if we choose a career that is unusual, or decide not to follow traditions at holiday time.
We put our focus on others and their opinions. Our search for acceptance often takes us down a path of unhappiness. It could lead us to stay in a job that gives us no joy, do an activity we dislike, spend time with people who don’t genuinely care about us, or even have a secret life that is only shared with a few accepting souls.
In the larger scheme, this path can take us away from knowing, experiencing and joyfully expressing our authentic self.
I read an article last year about a group of people that were fed up with the overkill, over stress, and over expectations of Christmas. A few close friends gave personal meaning to the holiday by spending it with people that they truly cared about, and in return truly care about them. Each person was tired of the excessive spending and commercialism that dominated the holiday season. They were tired of spending time with negative people, giving those people gifts, and pretending to be happy, when they hardly spoke to them during the year. Most found themselves doing this every year out of a feeling of duty for family.
This group of four families, couples and their children, decided to be bold and courageous by spending Christmas day with each other. This non-traditional holiday unit enjoyed a day of laughter, playing games, eating simple foods, and giving freely the gifts of attention and love.
My initial thought was, “How brave,” as I knew there was probably a lot of guilt from their families. Then I thought, “How freeing to do exactly what feels right for them, especially at holiday time!”
I ask you, how much more joyful could your life be if you stopped making time for unhealthy negative people, regardless of family ties? How much more peaceful would your life be if you simplified it, regardless of customs or societal norms? Moreover, how much more enriching would your life be if you focused on the important things, like taking the time to listen to those you care about?
This way of being represents being true to you versus an established routine or other people. I find it interesting that there is more and more written about the importance of joining communities or neighborhoods of like-minded people – people who have the same values as you, whatever your values may be. Many are proposing this as a key strategy for happiness, peace and joy in the future.
Let’s go back to you for a minute. Is the view you have of yourself your own? Is it created by those around you? Is it based on what you think those around you want you to be? When you are clear about who you are, you will begin to attract others who are similar to you! (Like attract like.) These people will love you unconditionally for who you are. They will stick by you and cherish the things about you that make you unique.
I recommend that you think seriously about being true to you, who you are, and what you stand for. I invite you, in this holiday season, to be authentic – true to you. Try taking the pressure off for just one day. Spend it in a way that brings contentment and love to you and yours. When you do, you will find an added gift: There is peace and joy in authenticity. God bless you, just as you are!