My friend and I were walking back from the bus stop this morning, lamenting what we still had left to do before the kids return from their last day before the break. I shared that I was almost done getting presents. She pointed out that I had said I was done a couple of days ago…. and I did. And I thought I was. And then I entered the spin zone.
“Maybe that’s not the right gift for her.” “Maybe that won’t actually fit him.” “What if … what if… what if….” I used to make fun of my mother for this very thing. “Mom, it will all be fine. Everyone will love it. Stop fussing.” I had no idea. As my friend and I talked, she wisely said, “You know you’re never really done,” meaning there’s always one more thing you COULD do if you thought about it. I said, “You’re right. Maybe we should just decide to be done right now.” We laughed, and thought that was a good idea, and then returned to our own homes where we could choose not follow that advice for the rest of the day. But maybe it really is that simple. Maybe it’s as simple as deciding it IS good enough.
It doesn’t feel that simple though, so I have to ask myself WHY. Why is it hard to decide that my holiday preparations are good enough? What’s the thought under there that’s generating all of this holiday anxiety? I don’t think it’s as simple as “I’m afraid they won’t like their presents.” I bet it’s something a little deeper like “I’m afraid they’ll think I’m no fun,” OR “I’m afraid they won’t like me,” OR “It’s my job to make it all perfect.” There’s some belief under all that holiday hysteria that makes me feel anxious and drives my frenzied action, that makes it really difficult to just decide that it’s good enough right now, or at least will be when today’s Amazon package arrives.
What do I do about that thought? “I’m no fun (cause that’s what the longer version boils down to)?” I inquire of it. I check it out. I see if I really think that’s true. I try on its opposite and see if I can find ample evidence for that to be just as true. “I am fun.” Hey, yeah I am. I sit with that new thought. I take some deep breaths. I allow for the possibility that the thought that is driving all of this madness is actually wrong, is actually a choice I am making and one that I can unchoose. I unchoose you inaccurate, unkind, crazy-making thought. I unchoose you today as I wrap. I unchoose you tomorrow as I make cookies with my kids. I unchoose you as I see if I can slip a nap in somewhere because you’ve woken me up early for three days now. I unchoose you because you make me feel bad about myself, you don’t inspire any helpful change, and because you aren’t any more true than plenty of thoughts that actually work for me. I unchoose you. As I wrap gifts today, I think I’ll keep one of those extra boxes and put you in it, not to confine you, but to give you your own special place to be that is NOT front and center in my brain. You can hang around, but you don’t get to be in charge of this holiday, because honestly, thinking you’re no fun as you head into the “most wonderful time of the year” really kind of stinks. And I’m done now. Thank you for worrying about me reptile brain. Thank you for trying to protect me. You can take it down a notch now. I got this. It’s good enough.