The holidays should be fun right? We should have happy families where everyone gets along and no one tries to upset anyone else. Let’s face it, when it comes to the holidays there are a lot of shoulds..… I mean take a minute to think about your expectations and what you want out of the holidays. Maybe it is that everything should be perfect, the children (and adults) should behave, or family members should participate in the preparation, expense, entertainment, cooking, and shopping.
The holidays are a prime time for feelings of resentment and its close relative self-pity. Resentment occurs when there is perceived injustice. It could be a real or imagined grievance but regardless we feel that injustice is happening to us. We are all entitled to those feelings, but it is how we react that is important.
There are a great many reasons why we might feel resentment. Possibly our expectations of what the holidays should look like, which may be nothing of how you are experiencing it. It could be family members NOT playing their part. You may find yourself buying gifts, shopping for food, providing entertainment, putting out the decorations, inviting the guests, or just doing everything, while other people are sitting around and having a great time.
Then there could be a sense that we are missing out on the fun. Maybe we have not been invited to a party or we are expected to be at a family function when friends are going out on the town. We may expect too much of ourselves during the holiday session trying to work, and run the house and feel resentful that we cannot be out connecting with others.
Let us not forget about the expense, which can trigger feelings of resentment, especially if you are footing the bill for food, drinks, gifts, and entertainment. All of that hard-earned money gone in a couple of weeks. It can get really expensive.
So what can you do? Well, the first thing is to acknowledge those feelings of resentment. Instead of running away from the feelings and trying to push them down, sit with the feeling and ask yourself “why am I feeling this way?” Journaling about feelings is always a great way of working through them.
Next, ask yourself “do I need to be more assertive?” Maybe you need to start reaching out to family and friends and dividing up the tasks. Work out why you are feeling resentful and work on problem-solving the situation.
Be kind to yourself. We cannot people superheroes over the holidays and sometimes just need to take a step back and appreciate what the holidays are truly about. For example, take Thanksgiving, it is about being grateful for everything that you have in your life, so maybe change from being resentful to working on your gratitude.
Another way to help with that resentment is to find healthy ways to deal with those feelings. Maybe phone a friend or family member that makes you feel good when you speak to them, or be creative, exercise, or just take time out to sit down and journal or read a book.
The main thing to remember is that the holidays only come around once a year, and instead of looking at what needs to be done, etc., look at the big picture and ways that you can start to feel excited about the holidays instead of resentful.