When I first flew business class, I knew I was screwed. From then on, I was certain that economy class would be so much worse. The law of contrast is one of the most powerful laws in psychology. We determine how good something is based upon comparing it with something else. When you experience luxury, it is so hard to go back to experience living a tough life.
Christmas is such a magical and wonderful time of year for so many people. The media projects the stereotypical delight that accompanies the events of Christmas into our living rooms. In most parts of the world, Christmas is celebrated. People exchange gifts and Santa travels the world to deliver billions of gifts down the chimney.
But let’s say Christmas is not easy for you. Let’s say you lost someone this Christmas or last Christmas or a few years ago. Let’s say someone you love dearly is no longer with you or you have just been through a divorce or it is your first Christmas away from your babies. Let’s say someone is sick or you have had bad news or lost your job or are homeless or you simply have no money for presents this year. Or you are all alone with no one to spend it with. What then? How do you get through Christmas when things seem so dire?
When you are going through such a horrendous time, what makes it so much worse is how happy everyone else seems. Nowadays, on social media, we can see it more clearly than ever. People post photos and videos of their trees looking gorgeous or their houses lit up. (No one ever posts videos of their family fights on Christmas day for obvious reasons.) So, in comparison, our lows feel even lower.
To me, there is little I or anyone can say to make things better for you. But I believe there are possibly a number of things you can do that might help:
- Reach out and find someone who needs help and help them. Even if you are the person that needs help, when you help someone else you will feel so good. Making Christmas a little more tolerable for someone else can make our own that way too.
- Embrace the Christmas spirit. With everyone you meet or are in contact with, say the nicest things possible. Refuse to complain, gossip or criticize anyone for Christmas week. This will actually have a really positive effect on your brain.
- Appreciate the things that you DO have. Spend some quality time every single day feeling grateful for the things that you have in your life. Be specific and clear and make a list of five items every day. Explain why you are grateful for them. If you do not have much money to buy the children a present, be inventive and find things they love that do not cost very much. Make them feel special. That does not have to come from an expensive iPad.
- Set some goals for next year. The ability the mind has to reboot itself and refocus itself on a new target is powerful. When you start setting new goals, your brain will start taking you toward achieving them instead of dwelling on the present or past.
- Spend as much time around people as possible. Be around people because at this time of year, you often see the best sides of them. When you do show an extra bit of compassion, sometimes, you can actually get through to someone with a tough exterior.
- Be good to yourself. Stop beating yourself up for whatever situation you find yourself in. Give yourself the week off from this blame and be really nice to yourself. There is one gift you can gift to yourself and that is to cut yourself a break and be lovely to yourself for once!
You do not have to like Christmas, but you do not have to suffer it either. Hopefully this will help you have a great Christmas or, at the very least, not a bad one.