The holiday season is in full swing, work is being crammed into Q4 deadlines, gifts to give to friends and family are being purchased at the last minute, and it’s easy to forget about the to-do lists of the person whizzing around: YOU.
I have an interesting challenge for you this holiday season. While the digital world is abuzz with gift ideas for other people, I’d like to encourage you to give yourself some very valuable gifts this holiday season.
So take a step back, tell “guilt” to take a hike, and give yourself these gifts:
As a successful professional, it’s all too easy to forget that you are human. Before those thoughts of “just do more, just work harder, just work faster, just get up earlier, just stay later…” creep into your head, stop. You were not put on this earth to simply achieve. Give yourself some grace and understanding this holiday season.
- Your last project didn’t come to fruition as successfully as you’d hoped?
- You recently got a divorce?
- Your personal relationships are strained?
- Your finances are stressing you out?
Don’t give in to the harshness of beating yourself up. Acknowledge that you are not a machine and that you are human, and give yourself grace by replacing the harshness with gift #2….
Where does kindness to others stem from? First and foremost, you must be kind to yourself. How we treat others can only be a reflection of how we treat ourselves.
The next time you catch yourself being unkind to yourself, ask, “Would I say these unkind words to my child or significant other?” If the answer is no, certainly don’t say them to yourself.
If you need an extra hand changing those unkind thoughts into thoughts that serve you better, read my recent blog post, 5 Ways to Change Your Thoughts.
We don’t need to wait for someone else to show us appreciation. We can show appreciation to ourselves.
Do this exercise, even if you feel funny at the outset:
Write down everything you appreciate about yourself. If this is too difficult, write down what you would appreciate about your twin, if you had one.
- Are you intelligent in specific ways?
- Do you have a great sense of humor?
- Do you have an outstanding work ethic?
- What do you like about your character?
- What do you like about your physical self?
While we all have things we want to change about ourselves, this holiday season, give yourself the gift of appreciating exactly who you are today, in this very moment.
This is a tough one. Forgiving other people may come easier to some than forgiving yourself.
Be honest with yourself here….
What are the things in your life that you simply won’t let go? What things are you not allowing yourself to forgive yourself for?
Make a list of these things then ask yourself, “How is it serving me to not forgive myself for these things?”
Rerunning life’s “mistakes” through your head over and over like a broken record does not serve you today nor does it serve your future.
One of the best gifts to give yourself is the gift of forgiveness, so consciously choose to let it go and move forward.
Think about one person in your life that you love dearly. Think about all the different things you love about this person and everything you would be willing to sacrifice for this person.
Now think about yourself.
Did you notice a shift in the types of thoughts you have about this other person and yourself?
You have already heard a thousand times that you cannot love others until you first love yourself. But knowing that principle and actually putting it into practice are two different things.
How do you show your loved ones that you actually love them? Make a list of how others know that you love them. Is it because you make time for them? Do you give them your undivided attention when they share ideas? Do you care for them when they’re sick or tired? Do you speak to them with encouraging words when they’re feeling down? Do you make time to do their favorite activities?
Now think of specific ways you can show yourself the same love. Giving yourself the four other gifts listed above is a great way to start.
Realize that all of these gifts are also ways of living. Simply give yourself permission to accept these gifts to yourself this holiday season, and you will be pleasantly surprised as to how quickly it can begin to transform your life.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
Have a beautiful holiday season.
– Dr. Alex Ledgister