Tis the season to be Merry and all things warm, cozy, and celebratory. But for a lot of us the holidays bring up everything that stays safely tucked away and under wraps for most of the year. With travel and family and expectations all running high this time of year can be overwhelming, to say the least! For some, this season brings more mixed emotions than actual comfort.

To those dealing with these quandaries I offer my sincere acknowledgement, for I too have certainly been in your shoes. I find that the easiest way for me to look at it is that the holidays can be the perfect time for exponential amounts of growth. Both internal and external. Everything we experience can be used to benefit us greatly, if we so choose.

Since, during the holidays our family patterns are highlighted for us to see- the macro to our individual daily micro- we get more clarity into where we come from and why we make the choices we make. Being around family is the best time to watch, without judgement, and really see how we’ve become the way that we are. Are we codependent needing to take care of everyone so that we don’t have a feeling, are we tempted to argue in defense of our views? Family will test every part of us.

It is a challenge to stay in our happy place. Sometimes it even feels as though certain members of our family are trying to get us to react on purpose… But the more we can stay observant and not be pulled into the pattern of behavior that wants to own us, the more we will learn. Usually it’s the hardest things to do that are the most beneficial for our growth. And the most worthwhile of our time.

Think of the holiday, and being around family, like the Super Bowl of lessons. It’s where everything we’ve learned and practiced throughout the year is taken out into the arena. How will we play while everyone is watching, under all of the pressure? Will we cave to the stress of the circumstances or will we rise to the occasion?

Even the travel is a test. Are we running late, is our flight delayed, will we get sick?? There are so many hurdles we must face in order to get to through the holidays unscathed. In this final hour the circumstances may not all be up to us but the choices we make about how we feel and react are certainly within our control.

So as we shed 2017, let us release what no longer serves us, and intend to bring the very best version of ourselves into 2018. A new and improved us, for The New Year.