Sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan, and this goes for the holiday season. After hours of preparation and hundreds of dollars spent, the turkey might burn or what was meant to be a jovial event with family turns into a fight.
The holiday season can be a time that amplifies what hasn’t gone right in our lives. In a world full of social media images of perfect homes and vacations, it’s not easy to remember that for every seemingly perfect moment captured and shared, there are thousands of moments in that person’s day we don’t see.
When we compare how we feel with how others look in these “perfect” shared moments, we most often will conclude there is something wrong with us. We may sense disconnection from others because our story doesn’t match up with those we see online. But you have to trust that no matter how perfect other people appear online, they are just as much a hot mess at times.
Leading up to this holiday season, invite the sharing of your struggles and the things that haven’t worked out as planned. Others will relate to your experiences and connect more to you. Humor can be found when we get humble and share our most significant failures. Besides, in sharing and hearing from others’ similar experiences, we remember that what we plan for is not always what we get.
It’s not about the way the turkey turns out or if our families get along this season. It’s about the mess, the human experience that involves emotions, behaviors, and imperfect experiences. Don’t give up on yourself. Keep trying to make that holiday meal that stretches your culinary abilities or brings out memories of the past.
Go ahead and share your perfect moments this holiday season, but be prepared to find that should you choose to also share your struggles, you’ll amplify your humanity and your humility. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Sarah Lloyd is a licensed clinical professional counselor and co-owner of the Geneva-based Action Consulting and Therapy.