Integrity is a topic that is coming up alot in my life at the moment. Someone asked me recently what does having integrity mean to me? For me it means following my ideals, walking my talk and my inner moral compass. It was a great soul searching question and I enjoyed the teaching gift that conversation gave me immensely. It made me wonder how many of us are actually in tune with what integrity means to us? Or is it just a buzzword that gets thrown around yet we don’t really dig deep under the surface of meaning?
A few days afterwards it suddenly struck me that Christmas is actually one point in our yearly calendar that can really help us find our integrity and re tune with that. You maybe thik How on earth does that work? Well let me tell you. Christmas is obviously for millions of people a religious festival. However for the rest of us what is Christmas really about? You ay have even been part of those discussions the crash commercialism of Christmas, complaining about early Christmas decorations or the pressures of all the Christmas events you have to fit into your already busy schedule. And yet with all this in mind you may find that you still attend the parties, partake in the crash commercialism by buying the gifts and decorate your house. Is this maintaining your integrity? No certainly not. And that’s why I say that in today’s modern society when we celebrate a festival like christmas it is an opportunity to realign ourselves into a place of integrity. If we can find our what Christmas means to us and how to celebrate that with integrity then it is possible to be consciously aware of living a life of integrity. Which that means living a life where we can respect ourselves and that is a great Christmas gift to ourselves!
So how do you realign and find your yuletide integrity? Actually it’s a fairly quick and easy process and will take you no more than 15- 20 mins if you put your mind to it. And the great thing about this is that you can do this alone or as a family, or with your partner, which helps to eliminate those Christmas squabbles we can all live without!
Here’s my tips of how you can connect with your integrity this Christmas and give yourself the best adult Christmas you have ever had.
Working with, not against Christmas (for the Christmas hater)
You know that even if you are not a Christmas person that it will still be going on around you In fact fighting it and being anti Christmas gives you constant opportunity to be negative. And who wants that, really? No-one who is negative has a truly happy life. Negativity does not serve you. Working with Christmas does not mean you have to like it. It means you will have to find a way to enjoy it for yourself. So you have to accept the fact you have to work with Christmas not against it. You are going to have a holiday from work. People will want to see you for dinner. So make your peace with Christmas and shift your mindset from the I hate Christmas to I want to live a happier life in December.
Find your meaning in Christmas
Christmas means something different to every person. In my family it means very different things. For me Christmas is about being grateful for the gifts in my life, honouring the spirit of nature, giving and receiving gift,s as well as sharing cosy memories with the people I love. My Mum and my brother are the similar but for them they also really enjoy the Christmas TV and the break from work. My Dad and his wife are not Christmas lovers. They enjoy it by taking a break from life, eating good food and going for walks, their christmas is a time of happy solitude. Knowing what Christmas means to you means knowing how you will best enjoy Christmas.
Brainstorm what Christmas means to you. And here let your inner child come out to play. Just because you are an adult does not mean you have to be boring at Christmas time. If you used to love snowman then the chances are you probably still do you just haven’t done it for a long time. Include your values, activities you like. All the things you see as positive aspects of this time of year.
Find out what Christmas doesn’t mean to you.
It is equally important to know what Christmas doesn’t mean to you. For my Dad and his wife they don’t do presents because it’s not important to them, no-one in my family attends Church as we are not Christian. I however watch the winter solstice sunrise and light a candle during the longest night as this is important to me. Make a list of what Christmas doesn’t mean to you.
Check in with your Christmas activities
Now have a look at the things you intend to do at Christmas. (It’s best to do this on paper.) Make a list. Now put a ring around all the activities that are not in line with your meaning of how to enjoy your Christmas. If you can see that things you will enjoy are not on your list then add them. For example as I child I often made Christmas presents and for years as an adult I didn’t. However I love crafting. aking the presents actually gave me an opportunity to learn something new, so I have reintroduced it into my Christmas traditions.
Restrategies your activities
Now what to do about those activities that aren’t aligned with your meaning of Christmas?
It’s time to restrategise these activities so you can be true to yourself. This is tough. Some of those activities involved other people. Not doing them might hurt someone you love. Here you have to be creative. Firstly look at anything you absolutely have to do that you can easily rearrange how you do it. For example- Online shopping instead of the mall. Donating christmas gift money instead of buying lots of presents and asking family to do the same for you. Have a kindness advent calendar instead of a chocolate one.
Now the harder part. Is there anything you want to completely drop? There is a family tradition in Mr T’s family where they visit the graveyard of a deceased relative. I have participated for 3 years however as I didn’t know this person I feel false. I only go to support the family and honestly I could do with the time to relax before Christmas for myself. So what to do? In this case I talk to Mr T and find a compromise. It gives the opportunity to honestly openly discuss it and find a way to meet both our needs.
Christmas dinner at you sister’s house with your parents, could be something you hate about Christmas. However your parents would be so hurt if you didn’t come. Here you need to ask yourself what is the important thing here? In this scenario you don’t want to hurt your parents. This is being true to your integrity. And this is why you will still attend. However you don’t have to be a victim and just go along with everything. To maintain your integrity you need to set boundaries. Pre agree with your parents you will only attend the day for part of it. This way you can please them and please yourself. Plan something that you will enjoy for the rest of the day so you can enjoy yourself. If your parents would like to see more of you over the holidays then do lunch with them. Yes you will have to make compromises over Christmas however these do not have to cost you your happiness. So find your integrity, identify your limits, set boundaries in your compromises and plan energy booster after you have done something you had to compromise on.
Make sure you enjoy the things you want to enjoy
It sounds maybe strange to mention this however when we have a lot to do (and of course December is hella busy) we often drop the fun stuff. Not OK. Fun is something we all need in the middle of winter. It’s our midwinter boost and seriously important for our mental health. So make your fun as important as everything else. Plan your fun into your December. A great way to do this is to do a December month plan (See this #lifelsson101 on planning december without stress).
Stick to your choices
Now you know where you are and what you want to do- stick to it. A belief you cannot hold to is not worth it’s salt. Walk your talk and hold onto your integrity. This can be challenging in the face of everyone else’s behaviour however look at it this way. When we walk from a place of integrity we offer other people inspiration to do the same and that is a great gift to the world.
The important part of this soul searching journey is to do it now. If you want your family/friends/partners to be along for the same ride then you need to talk to them quickly before they get set in their ideas and expectations. Make this Christmas one you are going to enjoy. A Christmas where you can hold to your inner truth and appreciate the moment the way you want to and you will find that you have given yourself the gift of a stronger happier you for 2018.
Have a lovely week <3