I’ll get straight to the point. I got you a Christmas present.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t have.
But while you’re running around worrying about everyone else this Christmas I wanted to give you a little gift.
There it is. (I told you it was little.)
Don’t worry, it does come with instructions.
Simply keep your ‘and’ close to hand and when the stress or tension starts to bubble up, you’ll know it’s time to deploy it.
For example, you might consider yourself to be really resilient and rational, but find yourself relentlessly doomscrolling trying to stay one step ahead of Covid Christmas developments.
Or you might think of yourself as really organised but then blow a gasket when you realise you forgot to get some vegan custard in, half an hour before your vegan guests arrive.
Or you may consider yourself to be kind and thoughtful but find yourself wanting to deliver a sharp upper cut to your brother in law’s perfectly manscaped jaw as he wangs on about refugees and asylum seekers ruining this country of ours.
If you find yourself triggered and reactive then reach for your ‘and’.
It will remind you that you are resilient and rational AND you’re also fearful.
It will remind you that you are organised AND you’re also disorganised.
It will remind you that you are kind and thoughtful AND you’re also rageful and judgemental.
And ‘and’ is fine with all of that.
Because here’s the thing; we can’t only be the good things. (Even Disney movies have villains.) In a culture that celebrates personal development and self-actualisation, we can be fooled into thinking that if being good is good, then being more good is better.
Whereas being good is good and recognising that we’re also bad is better.
That’s balance. That’s wholeness. That’s the sigh of relief at acknowledging what is true, rather than endlessly efforting to hide our perceived flaws and amplify our perceived assets.
And, frankly, who needs extra effort at Christmas?
So, practice and see how it feels. If you feel yourself getting stressed or upset, search for the ‘and’ and acknowledge the truth of what is also present for you.
That, in itself, is the perfect Christmas present.