When thanks turns to guilt

I think it’s more than fair to say that we all want to enjoy holidays.

We want to make the best of them. We want them to incorporate time with family and friends. We want those we love to know we care and we want them to show us we’re appreciated too.

We do this with food and drink – often more of one than the other but both in excess. We give gifts we can’t afford on our usual monthly budgets, but we’re convinced that is how to express our love and appreciation.

But what happens when all of that is too much. When it’s not possible to pack it into one day. When some family don’t get along with others. Or even when someone just wakes up on the wrong side of the bed?

That’s when thanks turns to guilt.

"The Fountain of El Dorado, by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, tells the story of an Aztec myth of a god whose brilliance is so dazzling that the sun is his veil, and who lives in a darkened temple lest his light destroy humanity. (p. 54.) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/10870674916/)

“The Fountain of El Dorado, by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, tells the story of an Aztec myth of a god whose brilliance is so dazzling that the sun is his veil, and who lives in a darkened temple lest his light destroy humanity. (p. 54.) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/10870674916/)

What I mean is that we all want the positives so much, that it’s actually easier – and maybe more frequent – for it all to be tainted with feelings of guilt.

We feel guilty at not getting along with that weird cousin or brother-in-law. We feel guilty because we can never spend as much as we want to spend on someone. We feel guilty because I want to do to celebrate isn’t what you want to do. We feel guilty when we have plenty to celebrate and others have to work on the holiday just to keep their home and next meal. We might even feel guilt over events which happened hundreds of years ago and have nothing to do with us now – but we still feel for the pain our ancestors inflicted upon others.

And we all carry that around – hidden under a blanket smile and some platitudes.

I know some are reading this now and thinking I’m full of shit and this is self-serving, but what I really want is for people to be honest – even if it’s just a little bit more than they did before.

Just like a Libra, my opinions can sway one way or the other, but I hold a pretty firm belief that few people take real ownership of their feelings. They get caught up on constraints of society – “I shouldn’t feel that way” or “There must be something wrong with me” – rather than just admitting how they feel.

The step after admission is learning to clearly communicate those feelings to other who are likely in denial of their own feelings and, therefore, can’t fully accept your feelings, but that’s for another rant.

For now, just try to look inward and really admit what your feeling. Even if that is a complex turmoil of different emotions all feeding off one another, it’s better to be honest with yourself than to be chained to feelings like guilt which just feeds off of itself.

That all said, please have a happy and thankful day. Take even a few minutes to close your eyes in a quiet space or stand in the sun with the breeze on your face and be thankful for who you are.

Worry later about be thankful to others. They’ll appreciate it better when you’re honest with yourself first. Trust me.

Cheers.

 

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