Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What Does Christmas Mean For A Stepmum? - Part 2


Today I'll continue my exploration of how to turn around the not so happy Christmas experiences that you may  have had since you've found yourself in a stepmum role and hope that it will give you some food for thought. 

FROM RESENTMENT TO REACHING OUT:

RESENTMENT is the festering, cancer-like emotion that is familiar to all of us and could easily spoil Christmas if we allowed it to enter our hearts.  Resentment can rise as a result of feeling railroaded, trodden on, taken advantage of, not being accepted or appreciated for who we are or what we do. Sometimes it is not the resentment WE might feel that affects our Christmas spirit, but the resentment that is directed at us. It could be our ex, our partner’s ex, our stepchildren, and at times even our partner whose resentment might be the problem. Resentment is a ‘toughie’ that’s difficult to overcome. So, what helps?

REACHING OUT
Yep, I know that can be a tall order. After all, who feels like reaching out to someone by whom we feel taken advantage of or trodden on? No-one, I am sure. But sometimes it’s really important that we do not follow our feelings but instead make some tough decisions and choices and follow those instead. If we decided to reach out to those this Christmas whom we resent, and/or to those whom we know resent us, what would the outcome be? I don’t know the answer to that question, but why not try and see for yourself?! What have you got to lose? Nothing, right? What do you have to gain? A happy Christmas Day, for one thing. Feeling really good about yourself, for another. And if you are lucky, your new attitude may even diffuse the dynamite that’s been smoldering between you and whomever!!!!! 

FROM IRRITATION TO INSPIRATION:

IRRITATION 
It isn’t not unusual around this time of year to be plagued by a sense of irritation and, although being irritated is often the byproduct of having to deal with people we’d rather not have to deal with, one certainly doesn’t have to be a stepparent to feel this way. I often get irritated by the fact that the shops are overcrowded, that it’s virtually impossible to get a parking spot or a shop assistant’s attention. I get irritated by the fact that schools break up far too early, that school functions, business functions and another two thirds of the functions that could easily be spread throughout the rest of the year all seem to be squashed into the month of December and that every year Christmas just tends to sneak up on me.

INSPIRATION
Why not allow inspiration to replace irritation? When inspired we begin to think outside the square we live in. If we loath shopping malls at Christmas time we could perhaps do our Christmas shopping throughout the year, or just do it online. If we don’t believe in running with the materialistic crowd, we could perhaps make the presents we want to give our loved ones this year. I guess there isn’t a great deal one can do about school functions and the like, but we can certainly say “no” to the multitude of social functions that come our way at this time of year. This helps take at least some of the pressure off Christmas.

FROM STRESS TO STILLNESS:

STRESS 
Is anyone not familiar with stress? I imagine that there isn’t a single one of you who hasn’t been entangled by its insidious tentacles more often than you’d care to remember. I have!!! And I know from personal experience that Christmas can be a most extraordinarily stressful time. I also know that stress is responsible for many of the ailments we suffer. It can cause migraine headaches, back problems, skin rashes, irritable bowel, ulcers, heart conditions, nervous breakdowns and even cancer. So, what’s the remedy?

STILLNESS
As stress and stillness cannot dwell in the same body at the same time, a powerful healing tool is learning the art of stillness. This means that we allow our mind to slow down, our emotions to balance, our bodies to rest. We can achieve this by practicing meditation. Meditation can be practiced in many different ways and the only suggestion I have as to what type of meditation is right for you is that it is in line with your belief system. Meditation at Christmas time can be as simple as lighting a lovely scented candle, putting on some soft and soothing music and dwelling on whatever the meaning of Christmas is for you.

Please return to read the final chapter of this article next week.

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