All I Want For Christmas… is Me

by David Davis

Renee lives in Ottawa, and frequently engages in thoughtful and sometimes humorous debates about the world around her. She has a background in health sciences, psychology and education. She holds progressive views and generally believes that people should do no harm, seek their own happiness and allow others to do the same. She has a big family from Jamaica and Barbados and their cultural influence has not been lost on her.

Renee has a regular blog: Anatomy of the Quarter Life Crisis - A thoughtful, humorous and slightly irreverent blog about social issues, relationships and life at the outset of adulthood.

Ah, the holidays… the time of resolutions! It’s the point in the calendar where you review the last year and decide to do things differently for the next. You are going to the gym! You will eat better. You’ll resolve that issue with that relative or friend. You’ll decide to care less about the things you care too much about now. All well and good! I support you. Assumpta supports you. We’ve got your back. Might I interject for a moment to offer you some advice?

Be nice to yourself.

No, really. I mean it. Be kind, gracious, and compassionate with yourself. This holiday season give yourself the gift of you. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it the gym as often as you intended, or stop going entirely. Don’t critique your body after a having that extra slice of pizza even though you were already full. Don’t punish yourself for reverting to bad habits when faced with adversity. Don’t give up when you put more energy into something than it deserved. As you are in this moment, you are whole person – faults and all – worthy of love, belonging, and compassion. Perfection is not real, nor is it realistic. Also, to be honest. It’s BORING! Embrace the mess!

Bridget Jones
Hey, girl! Let’s hang out. Loving that book you got by the way.

I’m going to be really generous and give you a present within a present because I got it like that. When you’re nice to yourself, everything else – the goals, the relationships, the habits – fall into place. Seriously. I’m giving you this for free! It took me untold moneys and several years with a professional to get to this point. (Granted there were other crucial things about my personal journey that required that process, but I digress).

When you’re consistently kind to yourself as your main focus, it naturally creates space for everything else. You end up doing things not because you should but because you want to. YA’LL! It’s like freakin’ magic! Instead of trying to allocate 100% of the energy in your tank to get 80% of all the things done and running a deficit…

Hades - Hercules

…the tank gets bigger, you have more energy and it replenishes itself more frequently so you have a reserve. Even better: keeping that reserve becomes a new normal. One day you’ll stop and wonder why you were giving all your energy to everything and everyone else and keeping nothing for yourself.  

This year, make it about you. Be nice to you and give yourself permission to enjoy life while keeping a side eye on your goals. Graciously bow out of a social event you’re really not interested in attending. Privately and confidently maintain those boundaries when speaking with [Difficult Relative X]. You don’t owe anybody an explanation for how you choose to take care of you. Give yourself kudos for the fact that you walked for an hour while browsing the shopping mall. Exercise wasn’t the intention or goal, but you did it, right? Smile as you drink that Starbucks mocha with skim milk. You’re allowed…see? Compromise. Cozy up at home, Rest, Relax, and Read a book or give yourself that at home Spa experience within proximity of your bed (*drools*). The key to “happiness” isn’t forcing yourself into who you think you should be. It’s being at peace with who you are, bad habits and all. The rest will come. I promise.

Assumpta and I, as your fellow humans, give you permission. Now go forth with your beautifully complex self and live.

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