Christmas - self versus spirit
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Claudia Anderson PG Dipl Psych, Registered MBACP
12th December, 20130 Comments
'But the fruits of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...' (Galatians 5:22-23)
When you think of Christmas, what words come to mind? Parties, laughter, turkey, family, presents...or is it arguments, debt, grief, anxiety, loneliness? Christmas encapsulates many thoughts and feelings, both past and present. For some it will be a time filled with loss, due the death of a beloved friend, pet or relative; others will be celebrating their first Christmas together, or rejoicing the birth of a baby; there are those who will be bearing the brunt of an uncertain future in their relationship or career prospects.
Christmas is like booking a holiday. Sometimes the planning tends to be more exciting than the event - therefore, you may be pleasantly surprised or unexpectedly disappointed. There is a magical yet unrealistic high level of expectation, which seems a complete oxymoron considering Christmas is celebrated at the end of the year where people have spent the last eleven months dealing with a variety of personal and professional highs and lows, both of which can be draining and fractious. Whatever your disposition during this festive season, could you consider the Spirit of Christmas, instead of indulging in the needs of the Self which, without purpose and direction, can be both immoderate and non - productive?
Here are the following definitions -
Self - the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc, as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
Spirit - boldness, courage, energy, enthusiasm, heart, humour, liveliness, oomph, resolve, sparkle, vitality, warmth, zest.
Thinking of the Self can be looked at in two ways, acknowledging your feelings both positive and negative. It could be a season in your life for forgiveness and acceptance, instead of a period of sadness and frustration at the prospect of a New Year without a close friend or partner due to a breakup. Another approach would be to think of others instead of yourself, and this is where the Spiritual dimension of Christmas can be seen. This is not a religious perspective but a humanistic, charitable one. For some, this involves making time to visit an elderly or lonely neighbour, or volunteering at a local homeless charity. Some individuals have a sense of isolation and disconnection within their community, which only exacerbates their mental ill-health and is more acute at the advent of a New Year.
So who are you going to be this Christmas - the Petulant Child, who didn't get what you wanted, spends the holidays making others feel guilty and annoyed; or will you be the Martyr, who has set themselves up for being taken for granted, which will embellish your insecurities?
Spirit-filled thinking will enable you to have a broader outlook and think more about the essence of Christmas as opposed to seeing it as a time of year where everything you give and and receive should be perfect, both materially and emotionally. If you're able to harness your emotions and share thoughts of peace, it could be the first Christmas where you're able to put your assumptions aside, find positive self-reflection, profound insights, and a new way of being.
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