Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Hinge Your Happiness On...

12. Don't hinge your happiness on finishing EVERYTHING.

We are about as happy as we choose to be. Perhaps the greatest reason for most distress at Christmas time is that we often have leveraged too much perfection on December 25. The ads, the greetings, the media, our neighborhoods all shout out that this must be a perfect time of year which renders us to consider that we must be broken because we don't feel quite so jolly.

For those of us who sew or create gifts and decorations, we put a little more pressure on ourselves because we are fairly sure we can create more happiness for ourselves and others because we possess these specialized skills. We need be aware that the pressure towards perfection is the same core of much unhappiness. Consider how many times we have heard (and try to believe) that money can't bring us happiness. Yet, many still try that route. The same is true of our creativity and yet we try to create happiness with our hands and our skills. While noble and honorable and inspiring, creating and crafting can only bring happiness if they are equally distributed.

Creativity is like painting a room. You might get the room painted and find great satisfaction in that but the process of painting spills on us too. There is great satisfaction in looking around a freshly painted room. That satisfaction is compounded when we are scrubbing the paint off our own hands and pulling speckles out of our hair. Each time we look around the room, we critique our work and either give ourselves some praise or chide ourselves in the details we missed. Yet, had someone else painted the room, we would not feel the same sense of satisfaction or the comfort of knowing we saved some money or shared our skills. In fact, many of us are far less critical of someone else doing the same taste than we are of ourselves.

As the holidays loom close, keep perspective. Do not hinge your happiness on finishing everything. A friend told me that her kids all were traveling to other places after spending Christmas Eve together. Her plan for Christmas Day is to take out her sewing machine and work on some embroidery. While that doesn't sound like everyone's liking, she is looking forward to a quiet afternoon with her sewing machine humming along. For my part, I have held contingency plans for gifts for months. I would like to think I could get these things done but am perfectly content with being a good shopper. Besides, since half the people in my family are sewers, I have perfect gifts wrapped up for them. They don't really know that I listen all year long to their wishes. If you don't have sewers for relatives, trust me....they do still like to have a nice pair of scissors, a gift certificate from Pine Needles that they can pick out the fabric for new pillows for their home and a date for lunch when you go on your shopping trip.

As for me....my family isn't getting everyone together until New Year's Eve and Day. We will just pretend that is Christmas Day for us. So....the new stockings that everyone is asking for are still in fat quarters. If they don't make it to the mantle by New Year's Day, I am sure no one will pitch a fit!

All the Best to You, jill
P.S. I dedicate this post to my son who is celebrating (really celebrating) his 23rd birthday. I am so proud of you that you have figured out what to the core of real happiness is. love, mom

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