I mostly write about leadership and am motivated by my work environment but this time of year tends to sting a bit. To be an effective ‘manager of life,’ your relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic, are a cornerstone for success.
I like to use this creative outlet as a platform to discuss things with which I have some experience and knowledge.
I am very knowledgeable about being single during the holidays.
I could probably have a conversation with my therapist for hours on the whys and root causes to my seemingly perpetual relationship status. I’m sure all of us single folks could.
So what do we do?
How do we survive yet another family dinner where there is always that one dear relative hell bent on pointing out your relationships status and then layering on all things you may be doing wrong to attract a mate?
How do not look at every Christmas (or your holiday of choice) card with beautiful couples and their kids (and/or dogs) and not well with panic at the fact that you’re pushing mid thirties and you can’t seem to take care of yourself much less the lives of others. I mean, I don’t even have a plant.
The answer is you’ve got to find your joy.
My beliefs and approaches to life and religion have definitely evolved since childhood, but one thing about this time of year that still rings in my head is the idea of joy.
Since I love a good definition, I’ll share what the dictionary says:
joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
What brings you great happiness? Is your time and energy being spent on things that bring you joy? If not, how can you align your priorities with things that make you happy?
If you’re having trouble thinking of something, don’t worry that’s normal. You may also be operating with the #singleforlife filter that I often default to. What I’ve discovered is that happiness, joy, fulfillment or whatever it is you’re seeking isn’t about one big thing. It’s the accumulation of 1000 little things.
About a month ago I started journaling things for which I’m thankful, and I have to say it has helped make a monumental shift in my lens of the world. Now I find myself finding something happy throughout my day all the time. Consider this example from last week that I experienced from two different vantage points.
- On Monday, I was very busy had to run errands all day.
- On Monday, I spent the day in New York City running errands to take care of things like a physical with my doctor that was paid for by my insurance provided to me by the amazing company of which I’m a part. I picked up some groceries so I could go home to my apartment in Manhattan and make a delicious meal for myself. I went to the gym and got to do a workout that I take for granted because so many aren’t physically able to do the things I’m able to do.
I know this probably sounds a bit cheesy. I don’t live some extravagant or extraordinary life. I just went to the doctor, the gym and bought groceries. But when I filter it through the lens intentionally finding the good things in life every thing changes. Even writing it out improved my mood (I’m currently on lunch and about to go back to the front lines of retail on the Saturday before Christmas).
Find things for which to be thankful. A relationship is NOT what defines you, nor will it ever be. You are you. You are enough.
When you sit at that dinner table, be the life of the conversation. Take charge and drive it in the direction you want to go. If you’re caught off guard by a rude relative, focus on the positive things you’re too busy with right now. Simply saying “I’m focusing on myself” is completely OK. Odds are that relative is probably discussing your life because their own is in some sort of turmoil.
If family is not your issue, take time this season to reconnect with an old friend. Maybe you could aim for a single friend. I’m sure there is some common ground in the emotions you’re experiencing. To be honest, it’s too difficult for me to travel during the holiday season with work. I’m choosing to spend time with the family that I’m starting to create here in NYC.
Whatever steps you take to find your joy, the key is to be sure and keep your focus stead on the things that are positive and going well in your life.
I promise it will change everything for you.