As the sights and sounds of the season surround us so do familiar feelings and memories. It makes me wonder, what’s the very first picture that pops up for you when it comes to the holidays from childhood?
You’d be surprised by how much meaning even the smallest things can hold! From a particular movie, ornament or wrapping paper to a favorite dish or familiar activity- ANYTHING can get you jogging down memory lane. So it’s no surprise that this time of year is packed with plenty of details that stimulate the senses.
For too many people, that means the activation of not-so-nice feelings that overwhelm them year after year. Known as the holiday blues, this powerful emotional battle is incredibly common and highly misunderstood.
There’s 1 reason the holiday blues are so common
Movies, commercials, billboards, news stories, magazines, music, social media and even email serve to paint fairytale pictures of perfect family reunions, treasured traditions and overall excitement and joy. While many of us do feel connected to these sorts of images and even uplifted by them, plenty of others struggle with sustaining positivity during the holiday months.
For many people, the holidays mark the start of a powerful emotional battle that plagues them the entire season, year after year. Sometimes the pain of losing a loved one hurts even deeper than usual during the holidays and replaces what was once a happy time. For others, the season is filled with triggers of a painful childhood in which they didn’t enjoy the holidays or were completely deprived of them. For other people the thought of bringing dysfunctional families together triggers an onslaught of emotions associated with those relationships and in some situations it’s a matter of loneliness, financial struggle or various holiday pressures. There are even people who have NO idea why they feel so down during the holidays!
No matter the reason, the real cause of the most powerful negative feelings always has a deeper source, rooted in the painful pieces of the person’s past. Unless the emotions from these past experiences are resolved permanently, they’ll continue to impact your emotional health.
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Here’s the difference between normal and harmful sadness
Can you think of a past event that was significantly sad? Whether it was a funeral, a break up, an emotional goodbye, the loss of a job or something else, we have all experienced sad and even dark times. When you think about that moment, what do you feel and where in your body do you feel it? If you still feel those emotions TODAY as powerfully as you did back then, that means there is a much more powerful source for your emotions. It’s a source that was not processed in a correct way. It’s all rooted in your past.
Why memories are always measured in emotion
I can personally relate to the mixed emotions some feel this time of year. My memories contain a mix of some fun moments and not so happy ones. I do have warm feelings associated with getting the ornament boxes from the attic, feeling like we were hunting for treasure and decorating the Christmas tree with my sisters and mom! I remember green, red, yellow and white lights and a golden angel that sat on the table and made a tingling sound when the candlelight’s around the angel, were on. There was a holiday themed tablecloth and pieces of chocolate cookies, and sprinkles on the tree. All of these small but bright images create happy feelings but as a child, they were short lived and squeezed in between the not-so-fun tension and unspoken words that drove the heavy and uncomfortable energy in the house, along with the pressure to keep up appearances as the ‘happy functional’ family we were not!
Can you relate to some of these memories? I’ve spoken to many people who do relate! Unfortunately for them the painful moments overpowered happy ones and still ‘call the shots’ as far as the holidays are concerned. The more pain a memory contains, the more it impacts your life!
One client in particular, Jackie, sought help after being unable to overcome the holiday blues, no matter what she did. Leaving her childhood home, moving to a different state and even starting her own traditions with her own family did nothing to alleviate the negative emotions that crept up at the end of every fall.
When her feelings and mood started to impact her family’s holiday experience, she knew it was time for a permanent solution- and that meant addressing the real cause of her negative emotions: Her past.
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Why healing means putting the past in its place
It turns out that when details from her past re-appeared in her present environment (and they did every holiday!) they would trigger the strongest negative emotions associated with her childhood.
These details could be anything! From the shadow of the Christmas tree against the night’s light, to the colors of a particular ornament or gift, to the face shape of a family member.
In our session, Jackie was able to put the past back in its place so it wouldn’t affect her any longer.
The best part about it for Jackie is that she didn’t need to remove the Christmas tree, or throw away a particular decoration to avoid her emotions. Now these various holiday regulars don’t impact her the same way and in fact, she is able to enjoy them.
This is why it’s so important in cases of depressive symptoms, to focus on the root source of the issue. Until you address the source behind your feelings, you can only encounter ‘temporary’ relief.
In Jackie’s case, the associated ‘bad’ feelings melted away instantly and for the first time, she truly began to enjoy the season.
This is what permanent change feels like
Does Jackie’s story sound like something you recognize in your own life? If so, you’re not alone. There are many people who struggle to join the ‘joy’ associated with the season- even if they don’t show it!
But not everyone is forcing themselves to enjoy the holidays. In fact, many people truly enjoy this time and are noticeably altered by it. What really strikes me is the extended human spirit this time of year. It feels as if people are generally more accepting and forgiving of each other. There is a collective green light for kindness that prompts people to kick up the connection with others and become more focused on peace. It’s why there is no more perfect time for true healing! Wouldn’t it be nice to start enjoying the holidays and experience peace all year round?
The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether your unresolved negative emotions are rooted in a holiday event or not. The impact of using Progressive Mental Alignment is felt in area of your life and in every single season of the year. It’s an awesome feeling not to be weighed down by the past and really the best gift you could ever give yourself!
Think about the prospect of an actual solution. When you decide to go for it, you’ll open up to the greatest possibilities life has to offer.
Celebrate YOU this holiday and the idea of a life that keeps getting better and better!