I am listening to the podcast as I write today.
Warning: bring tissues!
We share some personal holiday memory stories and some memories bring sadness as we recall loved ones who are no longer with us. It is ok to embrace feeling sad. It is ok to experience all of our feelings and to allow our loved ones the opportunity to do the same.
Memories can bring emotions
Some memories bring laughs, smiles and a feeling of joy
Other memories might spur tears and even sorrow
At times, we may choose to focus on only the positive memories of our past
And there can be good reasons for doing so
There is also a time and place for feeling the emotions of the “negative memories”
In order to move forward, we need to move through the feelings
Creating a safe place is important when embracing memories that might involve trauma
Having a qualified professional is essential in certain situations
If we feel called, we can create a safe space to feel our feelings
I have a playlist called Sad and there are movies that I like to watch if I really want to step into my sad feelings and to have a “good cry”.
I believe it is important to allow our children to see us cry and feel sad feelings.
How else can we truly teach them that it is ok to cry?
Even during busy times like many of us experience around holidays and family gatherings, we need to allow time for feelings.
Often, we can have big feelings as we unpack decorations or attend traditional events.
Our children can also have big feelings during these times.
To expect all smiles and happiness during the holidays, or anytime, is not only unreasonable but also cruel.
When we expect ourselves or our kids to be happy even when our feelings lead us to a different place, we are sending the message that it is not ok to feel sad.
I invite you now, more than ever and truly, any time of the year, to stop when our child is crying or expressing sadness, anger or any emotion we label as “negative”,
To stop, and to step back from the experience, take a breath and find your center
And then, try to see the experience from their perspective.
Our feelings are always valid.
No matter how small or silly you might think an experience is for someone, that is our opinion of the situation and we can not pretend to know what the other person is experiencing.
Years ago, our daughter became upset when I went to hang the stockings up as we were decorating the tree about a month before Christmas.
She declared emphatically, “We put the stockings up on Christmas Eve!”
I remember arguing with her that we might have done that once but I really liked having them up for the entire month to look at them. I also tried to argue that this was not the tradition that she insisted it was.
It took me some time to realize that for her, this had become an anchor in her memory. When her anxiety was at its worst from around age 8 or 9 through 13, she has little memories of that time in her life. It was sometime after this that she insisted on this tradition of putting the stockings up the night before Christmas. For her, that was a positive memory and she wanted to hold onto it. In the moment, I acquiesced and then realized if this was important to her, then, I could get on board and allow her to have this experience and allow this to be our family tradition. If I had the chance to respond differently to her in the moment, I would have held my reaction and opinions and taken a breath before I responded.
Yet, it is ok too, that I had my feelings and expressed them. As I have said many times before, apologizing and recognizing when we react and judge is essential for our growth and for our children.
Our children are learning from us all the time.
Find joy in small things
Find joy in simple or even silly traditions
Allow our children and loved ones to have a say in how we celebrate and how we decorate
Allow room for new traditions and new memories
Embrace all your feelings and give your children the space to do the same
Consciously choose what is important to you and how you spend your time
How you spend your time, energy and emotions will be tomorrow’s memories.