Saturday, December 16, 2006


Holidays can be difficult if one was abused as a child. They may bring back unhappy memories or just plain unhappiness if we don’t have that picture perfect life now, either.

One source of unhappiness can occur if we are expected to give gifts but aren’t getting many or if we have always felt deprived. It is very hard to lovingly give a gift if we feel deprived! But this is a time of year when gifts are expected and if we don’t give them we may stand out (or feel as if we do) as strange or different or acting like a Scrooge.

So what’s the solution? (You know I’ve got one, don’t you?) The solution is to make sure that YOU don’t feel deprived.

NOTE: Let me be very clear! I am NOT talking about spending more money on yourself than you can afford! I am not talking about huge spending sprees for things you won’t care about in a month or two!

So what do I mean? Well, do you remember me saying you should make a list of things that make you smile? Little things as well as big things? Maybe it’s a cup of mint hot cocoa. Maybe it’s a special flavor of tea. Maybe it’s a scoop of rum raisin ice cream. Maybe it’s a sweet scented soap.

None of those things are very expensive. Especially if it’s one scoop of ice cream, one cup of tea or hot cocoa. The key is to very consciously pamper yourself by having them or using the scented soap. The key is to consciously pamper yourself several times during the day—every time you start to feel deprived.

The key is to go into your closet and only wear clothes there that you love during this time of year. The key is to take five minutes and think of all the things in your life that ARE good, that you can appreciate. The key is as you wrap a present for a friend or loved one is to stop and let yourself FEEL the warmth of that friendship or love and remember your happiest moments with them.

Another suggestion: Buy SMALL gifts for yourself and wrap them up. Don’t necessarily open them on the day that everyone else is, but know that you can open one up whenever you need it most. Hey, it could even take you all year! Just knowing, though, that you have presents waiting, presents you will love, that you can open any time you want, can go a long way to making you feel loved and pampered.

Create for yourself an experience of smiles, of feeling pampered, of loving yourself. Because if you can do that, then you will find yourself wanting to give presents to others and making them smile, just as you are smiling.

We cannot change the past. We cannot change the people around us. What we can do is create within ourselves the experiences we want to have. We don’t have to wait for someone else to make us feel happy or pampered.

So as we go through the holiday season, look for little, inexpensive ways to pamper yourself and make yourself smile. Look for things you can genuinely appreciate about your life. THEN shop for and wrap the presents you want or need to give. And on your most difficult day, if it seems like none of this is possible; promise yourself that you will begin NOW to work toward being able to have a holiday season next year when you can smile. Promise yourself that you will begin NOW to look for new ways to make yourself smile and feel happy and loved EVERY DAY—by YOU. Promise yourself that you will find, in time, the perfect way to celebrate the holidays for YOU.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

PS I'm adding this after posting my original message because I read something in Parade magazine today that made me realize I had neglected an important part of the holidays. There is a story about people who invite others over on holidays--frieds or neighbors or just people who are alone. I love this! It is an affirmation that even if our own families were/are not loving we do not have to be alone on holidays. We have choices. We can choose to invite people who will enjoy our company, who will be glad to spend time with us, and who will brighten the day, not diminish it.


Anonymous said...

it was interesting i was out shopping the other day and stopped at a store that sells vanilla soap gorgeous in smell, and as i stood there thinking should i buy it. I decided no im not deserving the money can buy another present for someone else. Now reading your blog i am wondering if perhaps i should go back adn get it after all.

April_optimist said...

Jumping in Puddles,

Little things that make us feel good about our own lives often makes us more generous toward others. So why not go back and get it? Or, if it's expensive and money is an issue, maybe check for when the soap goes on sale. There are lots of ways we can be good to ourselves without overspending. Note: I've added a bit to my blog post because of something I saw today.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had never thought about this but I think it is very true. Thanks for the posting.

Anonymous said...

I think you just made my holidays :o) There is a lot of truth to that. It's about the small things and doing things for yourself. I believe that we continue to neglect ourselves long after the abuse has ended and it's time to take that back and pamper ourselves. As you said it doesn't have to be expensive... It's really about rewarding yourself.

April_optimist said...

Karma and Fallen,

I'm smiling just thinking of you doing nice things for yourselves.

Anonymous said...