1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

A Note From The Editor

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“'Tis the reason for the season!”

This phrase is repeated time and time again as we navigate through crowded shopping malls and as out-of-town visitors saturate our side streets and highways. Religion aside, we preach love, charity, and happiness as the driving forces behind the holiday spirit. We promote the idea of spending time with loved ones as one of the main reasons for the season. We drop a dollar into the hands of a bell-ringer sporting a Santa hat as we push our carts laden with food to our cars, figuratively patting ourselves on the back for doing something good and worthwhile. We act as if, in order for one to enjoy the holiday season, one must be loving, charitable, and joyous 24/7; we feel guilty if we feel anything to the contrary.

I am here to tell you to stop. Stop feeling guilty.

Somehow, along the way, guilt has infiltrated the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. We are made to feel guilty if we can’t afford a trough of gifts. We feel guilty if someone catches us straight-faced and reminds us to smile. Guilt builds if we simply don’t have the time, and we resort to pre-made pie crusts versus making our own. Sometimes, we even feel guilty for wanting the holidays to end. Our consumer-driven culture has picked up on and capitalized on this unwanted, yet ever-so-common, feeling. We are inundated with ads and articles that sell the idea of a guilt-free holiday season in order to turn a profit. We buy into it because of the shame that follows feeling anything deemed as “negative” during the holidays.

Here’s the thing about feelings – they’re fleeting. It’s one of the best things about being human; we have the ability to feel an array of emotions. Happiness is elevated because we know that it’s temporary. Sadness is alleviated because we are aware of its impermanence. Life doesn’t stop when the stockings are hung or when the menorah is lit. That’s the terrifying brilliance of life; it just keeps going. Bad days still happen. Cars still run out of gas, loved ones still fall ill, and appliances still break. It’s okay to have a bad day, even if that bad day just happens to coincide with a holiday.

This is not a message rooted in the desire to have you cut down on love, charity, and happiness throughout the impending season. When one resorts to actions that are fueled by love, happiness, etc., instead of “loving” actions that are fueled by guilt, the holidays will become a much more enjoyable time for everyone in our community.

Be conscious this season – be conscious of the things you say to others. Be conscious of how others make you feel when you are having a bad day. Recognize the transitory nature of the emotions of those around you. This year, ‘tis the season to come up with your own reasons. ‘Tis the season to remind yourself that you’ve done nothing wrong. ‘Tis the season to nix the guilt and to have a real reason to celebrate.

Happy Holidays to you from New Leaf. May your holiday season be filled with equal parts of self-awareness, self-respect, and self-love; and may it be topped with a hearty coating of selflessness.
 

 

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