Two nights ago I didn’t recognize myself. I got home from a wonderful weekend at the beach to find that all the packages that had been delivered were left in the rain in my driveway instead of on the porch. Many of my Christmas card envelopes had gotten stuck together from the moisture and I had been shorted 25 of them.
As I sat there putting labels on envelopes and trying to pry apart envelopes without ruining them I heard myself say, “I hate doing this. I don’t even know why I send Christmas cards” followed by a few words I can’t even write down.
Now, this is not me. I think all year about the photos on my Christmas cards. It’s my way of sharing a joyous hello. I love opening the cards from friends.
Finally, my husband had to tell me, “OK, that’s enough now” to shake me awake from my funk.
Perfection. Holidays inspire perfection. And that inspires expectations. And that inspires unmet expectations. And that inspires let-down and stress. We get these preconceived notions in our heads and when they don’t happen we feel victimized.
I coach, speak and write about mindful leadership and in that moment I could feel myself losing it - over Christmas cards. Really. People are sick, hungry, dying, missing loved ones, seeking asylum, oppressed and abused all over the world and I was losing it over Christmas cards that are supposed to bring joy. Honestly.
I was the toxic person in the room. It was a wake up call that I’m not perfect - far from it.
So, I needed to first forgive myself for that. I needed to state and release how I felt - victimized and inept. I needed to remind myself that I deserve to feel good about the holiday. And I needed to find the real meaning of it in the little things.
The next day I made time to have a substantive conversation with the people I care about. I laughed with my daughters on the phone. I purposely ran into my husband in a parking garage as he was leaving to catch a plane to give him an extra goodbye. I brought gifts to the office earlier then I usually do. And I visited my mom after work. This nurtured my sole. When I mailed the cards last night I felt more like myself.
Make time to nurture your soul today - you’re human, deserving and worth it.
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Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call now.
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