As I sit here finishing the last of the last-minute gift guides, I took a pause. The temperatures are plummeting here in New York City, and as I peer out the window upon Manhattan’s cold streets, I’ve been reflecting on the ground-shaking events of this year.
Wow, are we unhappy. So many of us are really, truly shaken to the core.
All around me, I see anger, frustration, name-calling, violence, disdain, insults, and persecution. We’ve turned on each other in a spectacular manner. We’re right, the other person is most certainly wrong. Essentially, if they have to lose for us to get what we want, so be it.
That’s just on the outside.
Because I’m willing to bet — and hang in with me here for a moment, because I’m going to get a little esoteric on you — that if that’s what’s happening on the outside, it’s even worse on the inside. If we look into each other’s eyes, we can see it: anger, frustration, name-calling, violence, disdain, insults, and persecution. We turn on ourselves in a spectacular manner. The negative voices within ourselves are reflected from the outside. We believe deep down that they are right, we are wrong, and if we have to lose ourselves in order for those negative inner forces to get what they want, so be it.
We’re losing ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have, and right now so many of us are walking around empty, confused, angry, frightened, threatened, and just plain exhausted. In the end, at the core of all that upset, there is a message we’ve battled all our lives that’s gaining strength every day: the fear that we’re not enough, that no one sees us…that no one cares.
This is the year that I’ve turned to face all that inner negative noise within myself. I’m not saying I have it figured out, but I did take some time away from the blast furnace of negative commentary in order to think this through. I’m no stranger to persecution, internal or external. But, this time it’s different: what I am going to do about it? Of what can I be certain in these times of upset?
Here’s what I know:
- I am a woman of worth. No matter how much success it appears I have or don’t have, no matter what labels I’m wearing, the size of my ass, or the color of my skin, I have real worth. I am here for a reason. Every single one of you has this as your birthright. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does; that’s a fact.
- I deserve to be happy, and no one can deliver that joy but me. The less crap I put between myself and who I really am and what I want, the happier I get. I have to be my own best friend. Me knowing myself completely is the only real source of calm and joy in my life, because…
- Things and other people can’t make me happy. After the thrill of acquisition is over, there’s intense sadness if I’m still walking around feeling unworthy. Things can’t fill the void inside you; they can’t silence the endless tape running through your mind that you’re not good enough. Means, no means, money, no money – if we don’t feel worthy, we will always feel broken.
- I have to put my own mask on first. Even now, in the season of giving, I have to fill myself up before I give more to others. It’s the hardest thing for me to understand because I’m a born people pleaser. I must fill myself up first. If I like myself, if I am taking care of myself, I am unaware and in no need of the approval of others. The comments, the news stories, the causes, the snide looks and social media likes or trolls – none of it really matters. It is in this spirit of giving that I plan to focus on myself so I can show up for others. Naps, reading, triathlon training (more on that later,) photography, cooking – I have to feel my own joy so I can be there for others. If I’m depleted, I have nothing to give. Be there for yourself so you can give to those who need you most.
In this season of giving, in this time of selflessness, I’m calling for a moment of self-love. That’s not to say that I hope everyone forgets about our neighbors; I would hope we wouldn’t do that. But you can’t give what you don’t have, and right now it would appear most of us are completely tapped out. Make sure you’re okay. Get really certain about what you need to feel whole, not perfect, and give endlessly to yourself first. Eventually, you’ll hit a surplus and can give to others. But in this spirit of giving, don’t forget about yourself. You alone can make yourself whole. The change we all wish to see in the world starts with us, right here, right now. We must become whole or we’ll all continue to fall to pieces. Start now.
Have a beautiful, amazing, restful holiday season.
Love, peace, and happiness,