The Cost of Striving for Holiday Perfection

Despite all of the efforts and money put into holiday advertising, most of us can say our holiday experiences vary greatly from the images we see on television and social media. This comparison alone can make us feel bad about ourselves or our circumstances. Media thrives off of perfectionism and chronic feelings of being “not enough.” Happy people, people who have a solid internal sense that they are worthy don’t spend as much money. They don’t need to prove their worth through clothes, gifts and decor.

In addition, many of us are also dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics, visiting places and people that bring up old memories (and sometimes traumas) and endless opportunities to overindulge in ways that later make us feel like crap – too much wine, too much food, too much spending, etc. The holidays can be a difficult time for the majority of people.

If this is not you, awesome!

But it is important to normalize what reality looks for us. When we don’t speak our truth and instead act like everything is great all of the time it creates distance from others. People feel like they can’t relate to us and it brings up their own shame and inadequacy. Let’s drop the veil of perfection and be real.

This doesn’t mean you need to open up to your barista about your family’s trauma history, but you can say “Christmas was a bit hard for me” or “things have been stressful this month.” Being congruent with our life experiences opens up opportunities for connection and often is followed by a “me too” or “I get it.”

The other thing to remember is to have compassion for yourself. Notice if you are pushing yourself too hard or ignoring personal boundaries to make things more comfortable for others. Try to put some time on the calendar for activities that fill you up like meeting up with positive people, taking a nap, exercising or getting outside, etc. Making sure your needs are taken care of is the best way to help you show up as your best self. If you haven’t been sleeping, skipped lunch and spent way too much time and money on gifts you are likely to be more edgy and less available emotionally.

Let’s get through the holidays together – the beautiful, messy and imperfect time of year. Much love your way!