It’s amazing how often I’ve caught myself imposing “should”s in my own life… And it’s a habit that is neither helpful, nor based in reality. But it happens…and I’m especially reminded around the holidays.
For one thing, I feel like every time I check out somewhere I’m asked if I want to make a donation to a charity. For another, it’s holiday season… This time of year comes part and parcel with the ringing of bells. Incessant ringing, and I don’t mean Santa OR his sleigh.
Stationed outside each supermarket (which I frequent nearly every day of the week!) will undoubtedly be a Salvation Army post for a bundled individual and a hanging donation bucket. For whatever the reason – and it’s definitely self-imposed – I always find myself feeling guilty when I pass by…or I say “no thank you, not today.” You probably do the same thing…pour a bucket of guilt over yourself for no good reason…?
We collectively need to STOP doing that!
I find myself reasoning it out – audibly sometimes, though mostly internally….
I don’t really know the charities some places are asking for money in support of. I remind myself that we give to a lot of charities, and physically volunteer. On a regular basis! We do it because we love to help and to make a difference, so that should be enough.
What’s with all the guilt then?! Am I embarrassed that someone will think I’m a cold-hearted person? Is it because I think I don’t do enough? Honestly, I think it’s a little bit of both…but I *try* to stop myself these days because:
- I have come to admit that I’m unjustly punishing myself and feeling guilty for no reason
- I know I give and that is (or, here we go with the s-word, “should” be) enough
- It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – I never owe anyone an explanation or justification for my choices. Neither do you!
- We don’t do any of it for the recognition, but rather to make a positive impact…so the audience isn’t necessary, and I don’t have to burden myself with that aspect of it
- We also – and this is a big one – don’t have to spread ourselves thin financially, physically, or otherwise to prove to anyone that we’re a good people! We already know that about ourselves…!
So when you say “no” at the checkout, or pass by the ringing bells… Or if you don’t chose to throw money to a friend raising some for their own favorite cause…BE OKAY WITH THAT. (I’m saying that to myself too!)
You don’t need to feel guilty. . . or wrong. . .or less-than. You do what you can, when you can. You work hard for what you earn and you aren’t a bad person for wanting to save up some of that for yourself, your family, and your future.
So let’s stop with the self-deprecation. We DON’T deserve it.
We all have charities in which we believe…
We all do our part, and our best to help where we can.
And…should we be unable or unwilling, that is perfectly, 1,000% OKAY.
I get irritated when Halloween stuff starts fading out of stores. . .or hits the sales racks, especially when it’s before the holiday has even occurred. Excuse me, turkeys and Santa Clause? Wait yer damn turn!
Ugh. Retail-schmeetail. I find it incredibly annoying, and I *might* even teeter on offense with this one. If I see ONE Christmas sweater before Halloween, and said sweater happens to be on fire…I have no idea what happened.
I don’t really do shoutouts or updates regarding my personal status – I feel like if you know me, you know what (and who) is important. But sometimes it feels good to be as loud as you can be for the Universe, because the conversations we have internally very much reflect beyond ourselves. . .
As one year comes to a close, and another opens, I always make time for a little ritual – one in which I write down those things for which I am immensely thankful, for the things I wish to release and no longer serve me, and for all that I am hoping for.
When we envision the good as if it has already happened, miracles WILL unfold – I’ve seen it happen in my own Life in ways I cannot begin to verbally describe. But magic? Oh yes…and THEN some.
So even though I try to make it clear every day…I just wanted to say…
In more ways than language has words to express, I am thankful for his spirit and his heart, above all things. Let that be known for eternity in this realm and the next. . .
Happy holidays to all, and blessed be.
I saw this posted today, and I smiled for two reasons…
For one thing, I’ve always been a HUGE Grinch fan – anything of the monster-ish ilk was up my alley even early on. I insisted we watch this each Christmas, and never seemed to tire even of the “fahoo forays, yahoo dorays.”
As for second part, the Suess-ie blurb speaks to something that I really believe in – a reminder I want to shout from the Grinch-inhabited hilltops whenever December rolls around. Or maybe just in overcrowded, emotionally-charged retail parking lots. . .
I’m a “giver” so I get the idea of wanting to share with others – it’s a wonderful feeling to give something that we know a person wants or. . .better!…truly needs.
At the same time, though…it is not NOT NoT about the gifts. Everyone gets CRAZY around Christmastime. WHY?! People have this immense pressure to buy, buy more, buy again…to wrap and deliver. But that’s not what it’s is about… I feel like I’m always left so baffled.
There are of course layers of religious meanings and importance surrounding mid-December (through to early January) depending on the culture and beliefs. But I’m not even talking about THAT (far too great a topic, far too weighty!)
I just mean that this time of year isn’t about throwing material things around, so much as true, sincere giving. I’m not saying I didn’t get gifts as a kid…or that I still don’t. For children, especially, it’s exciting. There are generally rituals built around Christmas morning, and I love seeing happy faces. But there really DOES have to be a point at which it goes overboard.
My favorite gift – the one I looked forward to every year – was my red snow shovel. My parents didn’t know that for a long time, but it was the ONE THING I absolutely LOVED getting. I would use it to help my father shovel the driveway…and to me, it therefore well transcended the “material.” It was such a fun event, despite the work involved – the “shovel” represented time we’d spend together, outside, enjoying the snow and fresh air.
As we got older there were years where my parents would have us all choose a charity and give to each one instead of getting each other things we wouldn’t use. (I think the whole “wouldn’t use” part tends to happens far too often as we pass into teen and adulthood. And frankly, I don’t think there’s anything I CAN get my family and loved ones that they really want – we all kind of get what we want and need anyway!)
I don’t think gifts are a “bad” thing, don’t get me wrong. It means a lot to some people to give, and in that way denouncing the whole thing would be denying them something that makes them feel great. What I think is important, though, is that people don’t feel obligated and pressured to buy things. Certainly not “BIG” things.
The “holiday spirit” is more about the thoughtfulness above and beyond anything else. And I’ve gotten to a point where time and connection with loved ones, HAPPY loved ones, and health for all of us, is – * yes, really * – all I want. Those things are far more precious to me. The little things, like a random “I love you,” lights up my world with a brilliance no material item could. Life is precious.
So even if gifts are part of the holiday “thing”…just remember that you don’t have to stress out about getting the latest and greatest. There are ways to give, to share, to receive, without having to go crazy (no one needs an extra car accident, or angry retail exchange!)
Enjoy the essence of the holidays while they are here – the gathering of those we love, and the blessings we already have. Generally speaking, those in your circle will be happy no matter what. . .and if you want to reach out to those in need (people, animals alike!), there’s plenty room there too. ❤
Wait…WHaAaaAT!? Where were THESE when I was competitively Ballroom Dancing, dang it?!
These are the PERFECT, iridescent light catchers (and I’m highly irritated that they’ve come out now…several years too late!) The names are as sassy as the shades, and I love that they (along with many other companies) are following suit of such brands as Colour Pop and showing swatches on a variety of skin tones. *LOVE*
FLUKE. . .
I can’t well wear them to the dojo (lest my partner’s gi light up like a Christmas ball) but…I hope other people indulge in the high-wattage glow!
The Diamond Crushers are meant to layer over lip color, but I’m sure you could use them on your own. You could also very likely get creative (because…why not?) and use them to reflect light to / from other areas. Eye gloss, anyone?
I’m a little bit partial to the Nutcracker because I grew up being classically trained – 10 years of ballet, and you’ll see ten years of the Nutcracker around the holidays…if not more (once a dancer, always a dancer.) I desperately wanted to be in it, actually, and a friend and fellow dancer was – spectacular!
MAC is embracing the fun and festivities with a Holiday Nutcracker-inspired Collection – Sweet as can be. For details, check out Chicprofile, who shares the full list of goodies, and a few more images. A little tricky to see all of the items clearly, given the bold pink patterning of dots and stripes but…anyway! Personally, I love the Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Stormy Pink, a muted grey-purple hue. I feel like it would add a barely-there depth (not a new shade, so much, but sometimes they aren’t!)