The true value of the festive season
What are we really doing when we set ourselves New Year resolutions? Do you ever find yourself justifying a final binge throughout the Christmas period in the run up to the New Year?
Mmm, pretty nonsensical isn't it, when you think about it? As if we are drawn to extremes, a regime of feast and then famine, finding ourselves caught up in some form of excess and then wanting to radically cut down and take control?
Has Christmas evolved with the power of consumerism into a time of compelling excess and rich indulgence, so that "presents" overwhelm "presence" and the value of people coming together lies more in "money" than in "loving gestures?".
Many people find the festive period extremely stressful in terms of meeting others' expectations - whether partners, children, other family or friends - with a drive towards 25th December that can leave one feeling emotionally and financially deplete. After much effort and preparation beforehand, on the day itself typically arguments ensue, tempers erupt, emotions run high and time together can feel compromised.
So what is the value of the festive period if it lures us onto a path of increasing pressure and indulgence, one from which we ultimately feel the need to escape with New Year resolutions in an attempt to regain control?
Maybe the answer lies in how much we truly value ourselves and our capacity to give and receive in non-monetary ways? Where self-esteem and self-belief are low, then perhaps material gifts become important in helping a person to feel valuable to others through either the giving or the receiving? Where a sense of self is weak, perhaps it is all too easy to be swept away on the "Christmas Tsunami," troubled waters brewing beneath the surface however, that will undoubtedly need redress and repair come the New Year, as life strives to regain some everyday normality ...
Maybe there is a hidden power in giving that stems from how we view our own selves, for if we stand tall and happy in the people that we are, then perhaps there can be no greater gift than one’s genuine self in reaching out to another through eyes and smile and touch …
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About Claire Sainsbury
Claire Sainsbury is an integrative therapist with a keen interest in research, in understanding more about the ways in which therapy can help people learn to manage a range of life problems.