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In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, it’s time to acknowledge that it’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s the 12 Weeks of Self-Esteem Torment for some us, where thanks to the forthcoming festive season, New Year and then Valentine’s, our emotional and mental health takes a bit of a hit because of who and what we think we’re supposed to be being and doing. I explain how and why we end up feeling this way and offer up some initial suggestions for disentangling you from any angst.

Some nuggets from the episode:

  • Society (and the media) has peddled this notion that we’re all supposed to be enjoying this idealised life, this idealised version of Christmas and The Holidays. It’s no wonder that people who are having a rough year or who don’t have the picture perfect family or life wind up feeling depressed and lonely. They don’t feel as if they measure up to society’s version of “success”.
  • “As humans, we can be like lemmings. If enough people go on about how we’re supposed to have the idealised Christmas, then we suddenly convince ourselves that we’re supposed to do Christmas their way… Enough people come along and say that the only way to be happy is to be coupled up and to have X amount of children by a certain age, and we go, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to follow that path too’….”
  • We criticise ourselves for not living up to the idealised version of ourselves. We beat ourselves up for not being the ideal version of what we thought we were supposed to be for 2018. We beat ourselves up for not having a family/mother/father like other people’s. We then base our self-worth and self-esteem on how we think we or life are failing us. It becomes our persecution stick to beat us over the head with.
  • “We’re critical of our loved ones for not fulfilling our ideal image and in essence not then meeting the need that we think that we need them to meet. And, it’s not that we don’t have that need, it’s just that maybe we don’t need to meet it in that way.”

  • We need to recognise that we’re being marketed to. We need to acknowledge that there’s a collective atmosphere of pushing us to feel a certain way, to feel as if these events are super important to us. By making ourselves aware of this, we can jump off the train of thought. We can depersonalise things. We can even limit how much we’re exposed to.
  • It’s critical to identify what you’re idealising. This will help you to get grounded so that you can stop hating and berating on you. You might discover that you’re expecting way too much of yourself (expecting to meet someone, get married, have a baby and house in less than a year, for example). You might be pressuring you to be and do something that you don’t actually want or need.
  • Know your triggers and get ahead of them. Prep for evolution and progress, not repetition. I used to feel anxious in advance for this time of year because I’d forecast drama. Then I realised that I had a choice and could come from a place of what I want to do versus what I felt obliged to do. “If you keep doing stuff because it’s what you think others expect of you, you are not going to be authentic.”
  • It’s OK for people to be disappointed when we can’t fulfil their expectations. People aren’t rational about disappointment. This is 100% OK. If family want to be disappointed that we’re not going to be doing things as we typically have, this is O-K.

cadbury's chocolate snowman Nat LueLinks mentioned

Your joy doesn’t haven’t to look like other people’s joy. Quote about stressing over Christmas

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