November 19, 2015
The holidays are notorious for being a source of great joy—and great anxiety.
It's a beautiful paradox, really.
It's a time to give thanks! It's also a time to avoid that annoying uncle with the nose hair.
As is Interwebs tradition, our feeds are abuzz with articles on how to navigate the feelings that bubble up around this time of year. On the one hand we have the unavoidable tension that emerges when we spend so much time around family, and on the other we have the nostalgic regret we feel about everything that went wrong this year (and all years past).
I have a simple solution for you:
Stop avoiding your ego.
Why does the ego get a bad rap?
Like I mentioned last week, I've been doing a ton of life-changing reading lately. And most of the books I read speak poorly about the ego.
And I get it.
The ego sucks. It's trying to convince us to stay safe, to prove our worth, to be stronger, better, prettier than everyone else around us. It works its little butt off to help us preserve our safety.
And I think all of that makes a ton of sense. Where would we be if we didn't have a little part of our brain saying, "Hey, would you mind staying alive? Gee, thanks!"
But the problem lies in believing the ego.
Here's the thing...
As the holiday season has ramped up over the past few weeks, I've felt my ego raise its fists more than usual. One second I'm straight chillin', and the next my brain is going all Rocky Balboa.
I won't get into specific examples because all of us encounter such different attacks from the ego. It could be your sibling saying something that hurts you or it could be your significant other not inviting you to come along to an important event. It could be anything.
It happens to all of us. It happened to me a ton—today even.
And here's what I did whenever I felt the Rocky-Balboa-like ego starting to put on its gloves:
- Notice the ego flaring up. Whenever I feel anything negative, I realize it's just my ego pulling it's typical game. This on its own is enough to put a small stop on the ordeal.
- Recognize what it's trying to tell me. I take a moment to examine the negative emotions and the situation as honestly as possible. I try to assess what exactly is bothering me, why, and ask myself, "Is there any truth to this?"
- Let it go—or take action. There are times when the ego waves an important red flag, which means I need to take some sort of action (like ending a conversation or walking away). Other times, though, the ego is just revealing something about myself that I can work on—so I do.
Honestly? This 3 step process was my saving grace, every single time. And I survived.
The ego, Marathon runner
So far, we've only been through the start of the holiday season. So far, we've only just made it through Thanksgiving (which, by the way, is a wondrous occasion that I invite you to embody every single day of the year).
But we have so much left to go.
There's all that time off work. There's Christmas Eve. Then Christmas morning and the rest of the ENTIRE day. And who could forget New Year's Eve's harrowing Kiss of Death?
(Not to mention the bonus religious festivities we celebrate in Latin America. All requiring extra visits to church.)
The holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint.
My best advice is to take it easy. Don't let yourself go haywire over your dad's mean comments or your grandma asking ALL OF THE QUESTIONS about your love life. (It happens even when you're married...)
Don't avoid your ego, but stay attuned to it. Notice it. Recognize what it's trying to show you about yourself. And then let it go.
Don't nobody need no drama, homeslice.