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Where Do You Get Joy?

How are the holidays going? Oddly enough, this is a tough time of year to keep your confidence intact. There are many things that can trigger self-doubt, the “I’m not enoughness,” and frustration. The hecticness you may feel is not necessarily from your to-do list, but your feelings surrounding it.

As humans, we find comfort in knowing, especially knowing the thoughts and behaviors of other people. When we can predict someone’s behavior, it gives us the heads-up on how we’ll need to respond, keeping our own well-being in tact. In the season of giving, we are forced to consider others more than usual. We have to ask, “what do I know about this person? Their likes and dislikes?” This contemplation brings attention to our thoughts about them, both positive and negative. The thought process starts out innocent enough until it crosses a line that displaces self-worth on how well someone likes their gift. Did you predict accurately? If you did, then take a deep sigh of relief, you were right. If not, look out, you may be find yourself in a head spiral.

The predictions we make show up in the form of expectations. If we’re putting “X” amount of time, energy, and finances towards finding the perfect gift, they better like it, am I right? Or at the very least say “thank you.” If their affect shows otherwise, we begin to question our knowing, our understanding of others, and our ability to get things “right.” Our confidence in knowing others begins to plummet and we begin to set what I like to call “reaction boundaries.” They sound like this:

  • I’m not doing this next year
  • Next year everyone is getting gift cards
  • If they don’t give me a list, they aren’t getting anything
  • I’ll just wait until they’re with me to buy their gifts. They can pick out what they want.

Reaction boundaries occur because you are responding to the emotions you feel from the reaction—NOT the reaction itself. And notice, these boundaries don’t sound anymore joyful than what you had imposed before.

It all seems messy, really. But what if we could let expectations go? What if we could find joy regardless of others’ reactions this holiday?

Re-evaluate that to-do list. Your brain is working overtime to get it just right. To get that perfect reaction from your recipients and totally nail the holiday gifts. But your self-worth is so much greater than any gift you’ll ever give. It’s so much greater than someone’s reaction any time of the year. So this holiday, take a deep breath, do your best, and find comfort in creating connection with others. That is invaluable.

We hope you have a beautiful holiday season.

Lots of love your way,
Justina and the Ignite Team

PS – not everyone appreciates or has the finances to give material items. Consider these gifts this season:

  • offering a skill you have: hanging photos, painting walls, or replacing a light fixture
  • making something: great-grandma’s bread recipe, a week of meal-prep, homemade lip balm
  • a service: babysitting for a date night, taking care of dogs during a vacation, cleaning the house
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