So many of my clients find the holidays to be an extra difficult time of year. Holidays have a tendency to stir the pot of family issues, emotional pain, and insecurities. Yet, in a world filled with social media and comparison, everyone else seems to be alright... only adding to the pain of feeling sub-par. 

But I have news for you, just because everyone else's situation "looks" picture perfect, does not mean that their lives really are. The truth of the matter is that everyone has "stuff." The extremity of their stuff may vary, but it is important to recognize that you are not alone in how you are experiencing the world. 

So often the struggle to face feelings head on is one of the root issues. So instead of beating around the bush, let's go straight to the source. 

1. Allow yourself to feel. Feel all the feelings. The positive ones, the negative ones, the in between. Feel them. Honor them and don't try to change them.

2. Let go of judgement. Quiet that inner critique and be gentle to yourself. You do not have to make sense of every feeling, but try not to criticize it so harshly either. 

3. Accept your feelings. And by this I mean radically accept. Let go of trying to fight it. Instead, allow it, welcome it even. Treat yourself as you would treat a child or a close friend. With loving acceptance. 

4. Honor boundaries. This may mean something different depending on the relationship. It may vary from person to person. But set limits and boundaries that feel safe and comfortable to you and honor them. Keep them clear and defined and permit yourself to need them. 

5. Validate yourself. So often we seek validation from others who are not able to validate us the way that we need or deserve. Become your own best validator. Allow yourself to be seen and heard by yourself. Make space for the belief that you matter. 

6. Focus on gratitude. Honor what you do have. Give space for being grateful. Make a list of the positives in your life and be thankful for them. 

And last but not least...

7. Stop comparing yourself to others. Let go of the comparisons. Don't try to be something or someone your not. Remember that everyone has something going on that is hard for them, whether you can see it through the lens they share with the world or not. So be gentle to others and to yourself. Allow yourself to just be this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays! Remember, happiness is a CHOICE :)