Connecting with Your Values at Christmas

It is easy to become reactive when we feel on edge: Our mind is full of stressful thoughts about meeting others’ expectations and creating an amazing experience for everyone. We may be preoccupied with meeting deadlines or financial worries. The burden of Christmas can feel overwhelming on top of our daily demands and responsibilities.

However, we can reel it back in. We are not at the mercy of our beliefs and thought-created moods. When we struggle to quieten our mind, we can always connect to our values. We can let our values guide how we behave, which usually helps us to settle back into being the best version of ourselves.

Here are some of the most helpful values that can put us back on track:

Attunement

Attunement describes the moments during which we take the time to become aware of someone else’s feelings and experience.

We try to understand what is going on for them and how we can be loving and helpful in that moment. We also must attune to ourselves to know what it is we want or need in any particular moment. Life and love become effortless when we do it in an attuned way.

To enjoy a special occasion, attune to yourself and others. Conversations will flow more easily and any stress you may be feeling will melt away as you thrive experiencing true connection with yourself and others.

3 Attunement Tips:

  • Take an interest in others.
  • Seek to understand them.
  • How can you support them best in this moment?

Presence

More recently Christmas has really become mostly about presents. We may believe that we want presents, but I argue that what we truly seek is presence.

When we are present, we are fully available to ourselves and others. The feeling is next to none. We feel fully connected and are available to be there for ourselves and others.

We cannot enjoy an experience if we are not there, so presence is key to enjoying special celebrations. Instead of getting caught up in our heads, let’s practice focusing our attention on those we love and care about.

3 Presence Tips:

  • Get out of your head.
  • Focus your attention to what is happening in this moment.
  • Be there for yourself and others.

Connection

Presence is vital for connection. There is no one to connect to if I am caught up in my head.

Connection is what we truly seek. As humans, we are always looking for ways to connect with each other. We enjoy being with others when we don’t pay attention to the negative thinking going on in our heads.

If that wasn’t going on, would we ever not be friendly with someone else? Would we not just naturally connect every time we were with someone else?

Let’s try it this Christmastime and see what it’s like.

3 Connection Tips:

  • Be open to emotionally connect with others.
  • Take an interest in others.
  • Slow down and relax.

Patience

There is no rush. There is no need to be anywhere else but right here. Beauty is in this moment.

Sadly, so many of us waste what could be a wonderful experience by rushing through it. Instead of focusing on what really matters to us like spending time with our loved ones, we make ourselves servants and kitchen slaves.

This also means that we are not present. And our presence is the best gift we could possibly give.

3 Patience Tips:

  • Take your time.
  • Calm yourself.
  • Ignore rushing, pressurising and stressful thoughts.

Flexibility

The value of flexibility is best lived when we accept the experience we are having without trying to force it into the mould of the fantasy-created version our minds have made up.

Life simply does not adhere to our thought-created standards and version of reality. We find more enjoyment when we accept what is. We take the pressure of ourselves to manipulate and control and instead get to experience what it feels like to enjoy the experience that is being presented to us.

3 Flexibility Tips:

  • Accept the experience as it is.
  • Don’t manipulate or control to soothe your anxiety, worries or fears.
  • What if there really is nothing to fix? What if it’s just your mind creating problems?

Tolerance

When we talk about tolerance, we don’t mean tolerating something intolerable or not expressing ourselves to avoid conflict. The tolerance that comes from a loving place, sees differences but does not turn them into problems. This tolerance receives differences with flexibility and comes from a place that recognises and respects equality.

Tolerance can also help us when managing uncomfortable feelings that occur in response to the stressful or insecure thoughts in our minds. We increase our tolerance by learning that we are fine feeling whatever feelings arise while staying present in our experience.

3 Tolerance Tips:

  • Being right is not important.
  • Differences aren’t problems.
  • Feel the feelings and let them move on. Then continue to enjoy yourself.

Contribution

We contribute in life whether we are aware of it or not. Our actions, inactions and reactions are our contributions. Whatever we contribute creates our experience.

Becoming aware that we actively contribute and that those contributions directly lead to an outcome is an empowering realisation to have. We no longer feel like passive recipients but become aware that we are active creators.

Subsequently, we are then able to engage in life from a different state of mind and in a different way.

If you contribute stress, anxiety, pressure and a bad mood during special celebrations like Christmas, you will create this experience for yourself and others.

You can however have a wonderful Christmas if you try to contribute as many aspects of the values we discussed in this article.

So put yourself in charge of creating a wonderful Christmas in a different way.

Christmas Greetings,

Marlena x

Marlena Tillhon MSc

"I love helping people and I live for deep and meaningful conversations. Being a psychotherapist is my dream job and my greatest passion in life."

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