Surviving an Imperfect Christmas
So less than a week to go until the big day! Not sure how that happened really. For me, the devastating grief of the past six months has crushed the concept of time into tiny little particles; the year a blur. One big fat horrible, ugly blur that I can’t wait to leave behind. But first I have to get through this week - and I know I need to hold on tight as the ride’s about to get really bumpy again.
Christmas can me tough for all of us. The shiny, sparkly, smiley faced images that get rammed at us from every bloody direction makes it nigh on impossible not to believe that we are failing if ‘our’ Christmas is anything short of shiny and perfect too. In truth, there probably no such thing as a perfect Christmas for any of us. In some ways I think Christmas is a bit like alcohol: it manages to accentuate all that might be right or wrong in our lives - and as we all probably have a little bit of wrong (or lot in my case this year) we have to make sure we don’t measure our experience against some fake idealised perfection of what we mistakingly believe Christmas is like for everyone else.
So, anyone struggling with their relationship should try not to think how happy every other couple on the universe looks. They won’t all be. Anyone struggling to pay their bills should try not to compare their financial situation to the unknown truth of the bank balance of the person leaving a store with umpteen bags of gifts. Yes, it could all be on credit. Anyone feeling lonely shouldn’t assume that the person surrounded by hundreds of friends in the the pub isn’t actually feeling lonely too. Inside they might be really missing the one person they really want to be with. But can’t.
In truth, we just can’t compare our insides to other people’s outsides; we never really know what people are dealing with unless they choose to tell us. What we see isn’t always real. They might feel like us too.
So what else can we do to help ourselves if we are struggling this week?
Well this morning I came across this little bit of advice from a wonderful charity called CALM (Calm Against Living Miserably) which prompted me to write this piece.
CALM have created NOEL and Noel’s advice is to remember this:
N: NO, no, no. Yes that’s a word we can all use if we need to. If things aren’t helping us then it’s okay to say no. O: OPENNESS is good. Open up conversations and share how you really feel. It helps. E: ENJOY what you enjoy and don’t be afraid to do that over and over. There are no rules. L: LOOK FORWARD. Remember if things are feeling a bit too much then tell yourself you can get through it. Give yourself something to look forward to in the year ahead. Christmas is just a few days after all.
All pretty obvious really, but ‘obvious‘ sometimes gets lost in the fog of it all.
Generally speaking I usually love Christmas; I love the gift giving, food cooking, joke sharing ness of it all. And while I know the wrongs in my life will overpower this year I remind myself that this year won’t necessarily be the same as the next. I have to keep looking forward at that is my personal motivation through it. So for now, I just plan on holding on tight, prepared for the bumps, but hope to enjoy the good bits of the ride as much as I can.
Need Help? If things to get too much then CALM’s helpline and webchat are open 5pm to midnight every day 0800 58 58 58. They are they to help and to listen. https://www.thecalmzone.net