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The Gift to Yourself, Permission

It’s okay to stop doing what no longer serves you.

There is nothing like the pressure of the holiday season, however you celebrate.

For us, these Christmas images are imprinted on us: It’s Christmas morning, the aroma of hot cocoa, coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls permeate the air. Lights are aglow, the perfect tree sits in the corner of the living room with a bounty of gifts below. From the adorned mantle, stockings are hung and filled to bursting. The stage has been set for it to be the most wonderful time of the year.

We started this morning ritual decades ago when the kids were little. In those days they popped out of bed full of excitement and woke us up before sunrise. The morning began. Now, those same little kids are young adults sound asleep in their toasty beds, not the least bit interested in climbing out at 5:30am.

But there we stand, exhausted. Coffee in hand, the bags under our eyes reflecting the size of the hanging stockings, we question “what’s really important about all this?”

Year-end traditions tend to be steeped in repetition. It’s easy to become locked into rituals based on expectations you have for yourself or that you believe others have of you. These unspoken expectations are as real in the workplace as they are at home. Immense pressure is put on completing all the goals and expectations that were set forth…last January. But a lot has happened between then and now. Priorities shift. As you scramble to complete all you think you need to do, how do you know if you are focused on what matters most right now?

What do you need to give yourself permission to let go of? Permission is a gift that does not come from anyone else, it is a gift you give yourself. It is a form of a boundary, which is a form of self-respect. If you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or resentful the greatest gift you can give yourself is pausing to ask these two questions:

  • “What’s really important about this?”
  • “What matters most right now?”

Get clear about what is important. And sometimes it is hard to decipher that. It takes courage to let go, put something down. It takes the consciousness of asking: what no longer serves you? Ask yourself what you need and give yourself permission to tell the people in your life what you need.

Here are three tips that can help you begin:

  1. Trust. Trust that the people in your life care enough to give you what you ask for. If you are clear about what you want and need, trust that they will listen and give.
  2. Let go of needing to be perfect. This time of year creates stress for everyone. Let go of the halo of perfection. Instead, focus on having fun, what gives you joy, and the small acts of kindness and surprises that happen this time of year.
  3. Be patient. When you start to set new boundaries with others, they may not like it. Context helps…let them know why this change is important to you. When you start to set boundaries with others, its new. It’s a shift in behavior and people (including you) are not used to it. So be patient. With yourself and others.

Our wish for you all this holiday season is to give yourself the gift of permission. To let go of what no longer serves you. Give that gift to yourself, and then give it to others.

Our best wishes to all you wonderful humans. Thank you for being on this journey with us.

Humanity works because of YOU!
Kate & Debbie