Wading through crowds of Christmas jumpers at every major train station, Instagram feeds overridden with decorated trees and food coming out of our ears…We are well and truly under way with this year’s festivities. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, sings Andy Williams, but each and every one of us can resonate with at least one conflicting entity that reflects upon our merry. And I want to talk about one particular battle that contributes towards the many ‘C’ words of Christmas: competition.
As old friends descend upon our hometowns and families come crashing together, Christmas is the time of year where there’s the most catching up with others to do. And whilst the buzz around seeing those closest to us after huge hiatuses is the most exciting thing in the world, we can often come away feeling puzzled and sometimes deflated. We listen to stories of where others have been, how well they're doing at their jobs, how much success they’re enduring and time after time, we fall into the comparison trap no matter how happy we are for them. Because if you feel like you haven’t got a concrete list of accomplishments to recite back to them, you feel as if you risk judgement for not having proof of moving your life along too.
So if you know you’re prone to comparing and seeing other’s success as competition this Christmas, just remember that shiny highlight reel. No one posts about their moments of failure on social media, so we’re subconsciously tricked into thinking everyone is succeeding ALL-OF-THE-TIME. And our friends and family emphasise what they have achieved but don’t often bother mentioning what they haven’t until that thing blossoms into an accomplishment also. We can never really have a true understanding of someone else’s life from what we gather about them on social media or a quick catch up and so really, there shouldn't be any grounds for comparing our lives to a half-painted picture. Just be mindful that you’re going to hear loads of stories of everybody’s successes during a period that puts so much pressure on us all to be so happy. And too that those chiming about their triumphs are only trying to seek approval like the rest of us. We’re all under the same spell of trying to seem like we have our shit together.
You deserve to honour your individual journey whether that's currently in a steady state of success or whether there’s currently nothing to show for your efforts. You've been doing your very best and you're killing it - no one is more qualified to live your life better than you. Because it's also important to remember that success isn’t linear. Sometimes success doesn't come in engagement rings, big shiny promotions or trips around the world, it comes from small, inner achievements that end up making a whole lot of difference. Sometimes it just means surviving - if only for the holiday period. And my favourite response when someone I haven't seen for milieu nor has any business asking what I'm doing with my life? "Being happy." Trust me, that'll shake 'em.
If there’s one thing I want you all to take away from this, it’s to look after your health this Christmas - whether that be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Or should I say, begin looking after your health now to continue as you mean to go on throughout the new year. Don’t agree to catch up with people who don’t actually have your best interests at heart and who do only want to talk about themselves or otherwise wouldn’t be there to support you. Spend some time to catch up with YOU. Spend time with yourself. It's amazing what or who is revealed when you take a moment to listen. This is the one time of year we get to wind down, reflect and enjoy ourselves without quite so many external demands around us. You don’t have to agree to every social occasion. The relationships in which you can say ‘no’ and not be made to feel bad or guilty are the ones you should be in. And finally: you’ve had plenty of moments you should be dearly proud of this year, no matter what anyone says or what it looks like from the outside. You’ve kept your body protected every single day; you’ve woken up each day and lived. You have been constantly healing and repairing and striving on. Although hearing about everybody else’s wonderful lives can cause conflicting emotions within ourselves, we should all be proud of each day we live to tell another tale. And use whatever ignites your competitive streak as a sign pointing you towards what it is you're truly craving in your life.
I wish you all the most delightful, loving and safe Christmas.
Lots of love,
P.S. Christmas Cards in this collage design are available to buy from my shop here.
Don't miss out on the chance to write your nearest and dearest a festive message of love and light!