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HANDLING THE HOLIDAYS
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

The holidays are almost here again! So many of us work hard to make the occasion festive and special to create wonderful lasting memories. Who doesn't love this incredible time of year to celebrate with loved ones - family and friends? Well, maybe not everyone.

Yes, the truth is we've all been disappointed with a holiday or two in the past, right? Who hasn't had a spoiled roast or a spoiled relative ruin everyone's good time? We put so much effort into making things go just right, only to have our hopes dashed one way or another.

The holidays can put a lot of pressure on us, but we don't have set ourselves up for a letdown. When we set our hearts on how things should or must be, we are often setting ourselves up for failure. When we focus only on the outcome, the way we think things are ''supposed to'' be, we are likely going to be disappointed. Even worse, we might be missing all the good stuff that comes with our preparations. As Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life:

We diminish the present when we worry about the future.

Sometimes things work out the way we expect them to and sometimes they don't,'' wrote Susan. ''Whether they do or whether they don't, holding on to our expectations creates an enormous amount of worry, conflict and struggle.''

By putting pressure on ourselves to create the perfect holiday celebrations, we don't enjoy shopping for wonderful presents as we are too worried about how they will be received; we forget to see all the good that people do for others during the season as we're stuck in holiday traffic; we twist ourselves all out of shape to make everyone happy rather than enjoying the abundant blessings that already grace our lives.

By worrying about the outcome, Susan wrote, ''In essence, we lose the freedom to soar that comes from enjoying the vast riches that life has to offer in the here and now.''

Sure, you're thinking, ''Living in the here and now is all good, but seems impossible with a To Do List that's a mile long!'' That's definitely a problem for everybody. Yet Susan advises us that in order to avoid disappointment, we must always trust ourselves and simply do our best.

In this way, you release any expectation about how it all will turn out.
You relax into the flow of life's adventure knowing that
in the grand scheme of things...
life truly is happening perfectly.

If we plan to the moon and back, the truth is that we can only hope how things will be. Sometimes when things don't turn out as we want, we are later shown how they really did turn out perfectly. That spoiled roast? Sure it was embarrassing but, without a main course, everyone got to enjoy more of the desserts. That spoiled relative? It may have been awkward, but it was certainly memorable and, with time, hilarious.

If we do our best and enjoy the present, we are living life to the fullest. If our holiday celebrations don't turn out as exactly planned, it's no big deal because we are enjoying every moment. As you work to get all your errands done, all your presents bought and wrapped, and all the food preparations finished, remember these words from Susan:

With loving effort, do the work necessary to bring
the desired results to fruition.
And when you are satisfied that you have done as much as you can,

LET GO OF THE OUTCOME!

Copyright © 2016 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.

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