A time for self-reflection

As we approach the festive season, and begin to make plans for Christmas, we can so easily get caught up in all the hype, making lists, planning menus, shopping for gifts, decorating the tree and the house, the writing and sending of cards, worrying if we have enough chairs to seat everyone around the dinner table or sufficient space to accommodate our family and friends, "can we actually afford all these extras?", "How am I going to cope when Dad has one to many drinks and Mum gets mad at him and they begin to argue, bringing up every dispute they have had since they married 40 years ago?".

We can invest so much of our energy into this annual ritual that we fail to notice that we have invited a few extra unwelcome guests to the party. They wreak havoc with our physical and mental well-being and rob us of the ability to have complete and fulfilling experiences, yet we don't make time to question their presence in our lives - we just go on repeating the same patterns year in year out, until we become emotionally drained and exhausted.

Unexplored feelings, closely accompanied by stress and anxiety are often the gatecrashers that frequent, and inhabit our lives, bringing confusion, which may result in us feeling overwhelmed. Sadly, this not only happens at Christmas - it happens when we encounter any common life event, yet how many of us allow ourselves time to self explore, so that we can reflect on how any situation may have left us feeling?

Relationships start with the one we have with ourselves, your first point of call needs to be 'you', "How am I feeling right now about what I have experienced? What was said? What was left unspoken? What have I learnt about myself and others? What might I do differently next time?" 

Imagine owning a car that you never took in to be serviced. Wear and tear would eventually take its toll, rendering it to the point where it would not pass it's M.O.T. It would become unsafe, and not fit for the road.     

Failing to make time for self-reflection can be like going through life without ever knowing if you are safe and emotionally robust for your journey. If you want to do something really special this year, give yourself a very special gift, a gift that has immeasurable value, yet costs nothing more than a little of your time. 'Make time to come home to yourself every day' - you will be rewarded by achieving a deeper relationship with yourself that will help you feel more connected and fulfilled, it will also enhance your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues. This is not just a gift for Christmas, it's for life - your life!

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Written by Linda Atkinson. Dip. Couns. Dip. Psych. MBACP.

Linda Atkinson is a counsellor and Psychotherapist with a private practice in both Sidmouth and Dunkeswell Devon.… Read more

Written by Linda Atkinson. Dip. Couns. Dip. Psych. MBACP.

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