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November 25, 2013
Internet Inspiration – November 29, 2013
November 29, 2013

A New Paradigm for This Holiday Season

What I want to tell you about the holidays:

Sometimes around the holidays I catch the covers of health magazines, or posts by health coaches. And I’m disappointed to see that a lot of them focus on weight, “good” and “bad” foods, being the “perfect” gifters, and the like. I’m disappointed with this theme in general. So I want to tell you that:

  • I don’t care if you gain weight or lose weight.
  • I don’t care if you drink alcohol or not.
  • I don’t care if you exercise or not.
  • I don’t care if you read every tip in every health magazine and follow them. Or not.

I care that you enjoy yourself. I care that you are a true participant in your life. I care that you curate your own experience.

What I mean by that is: the marketing during this season in particular builds us up with hope, love, celebration, family, parties, glitter, food, drink, and pleasure. And then we crash down into a sneaky spiral of resolutions, guilt, self-criticism, regret, and shame come January.

We’re told that there’s a “right” way and a “wrong” way to do the holidays. You have to enjoy yourself but not gain weight. Give give give, hustle hustle hustle, and still keep the facade of energy and good cheer even if you’re drained. If you don’t manage to be the picture of perfection, you’ve failed.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that the message people internalize is that Bad Food = Bad Me. Good Food = Good Me.

The truth is: there’s no wrong way to have a life, as long as you’re attuned to yourself and your environment.

I encourage you to remove yourself from this spiral. Our relationships with food, nourishment, and pleasure are complicated enough. I’m interested to know if you can be someone that truly delights in the season.

May I suggest an alternative paradigm?

Instead of pressuring yourself to “be perfect” or “be good” or whatever, try tuning in to What You Truly Want.

This may require you to slow down, take some time, and be ready to listen. This may also result in you trying new things, or leaving old habits. Think about these questions in advance, think about them in the moment. Just experiment. There’s no wrong answer.

  • What delights me? What about ____ delights me?
  • What fills my heart with love, joy, and pleasure?
  • What nourishes me?
  • Am I enjoying myself? Am I enjoying my time with these people?
  • What am I really hungry for? Is it food? Is it water? Is it sleep, alone time, or rest?
  • Is there something that, if I gave it freely, would fill me with energy?
  • Is there something I can give with joy that’s literally free? Compliments? Hugs? Time? A kind and judgment-free ear? Education?
  • What do I want to feel? (rather than, What do I have to do?)

I wish you and your family many happy returns, and I wish most of all for you to truly enjoy the season.