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Holidays Can Be Hard ... Can They Be Toxic?

For a lot of us, even those of us who love the holidays, they can be hard.

Because . . . humans. Many of us have lost people we love, or relationships with people we love, and this season reminds us of that. Many of us feel obligated to spend holidays with people who trigger us.

If you have a blissful and relaxed holiday season, high fives to you!

In one of my favorite Christmas movies, Mixed Nuts, Philip (Steve Martin) says to Felix (Anthony LaPaglia), "Christmas is a time when you look at your life through a magnifying glass, and whatever you don't have feels overwhelming." In that scene, Philip, who runs a suicide hotline, is talking Felix out of committing suicide. He explains that Felix doesn't want to commit suicide because of the disasters in his life, but rather because of the intensity we put on the holidays.

Expectation versus reality strain is real!

Because I've heard a lot of stories about family abuse dynamics, suicidal thinking, and depression this holiday season, I put together a short video on about what helped me resolve my own depression and suicidal thinking years ago. Click here to check it out.

When do holidays cross over from being stressful to being toxic? Holidays become toxic when we tolerate behavior we don't want to tolerate.

This doesn't mean we have to have a fight with the mom who wants to control dinner.

It doesn't mean you have to convince family members who disagree with you about morals or politics to change their minds.

It just means listen to your body. When you're tired, sleep. When you're done with a conversation, it's okay to be done. If you don't want to go to dinner, stay home and watch Mixed Nuts instead (it sounds bleak above, but it's actually a hilarious comedy . . . and a little dark).

The dictionary defines "toxic" as "poisonous" or "exhibiting symptoms of infection." The trick about poison is that anything can be poisonous if applied wrongly or in the wrong dose. This is why any behavior could be toxic to you -- if you are tolerating what you don't want to tolerate.

That doesn't mean you have to stop the other person's behavior, belief, or pattern.

Protecting yourself and nurturing yourself is enough as a first step.

I hope you have holidays that are safe and inspiring for you!


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