Thank you Psychologies Magazine for featuring my thoughts on why some people don’t like special occasions, and that if this is the case, it’s ok!
Summary of my thoughts:
1) If you’re dreading a special occasion and feel bad about that- please know you’re not alone. More people struggle with celebrating social gatherings than you’d think. Go for a non- judgemental observational approach such as “ I don’t like all this and that’s ok- interesting that I don’t like it- I wonder why”.
2) Zoom out to zoom in: If you’re feeling unsettled / anxious/ angry/hurt, see this as data to process and turn towards. Zoom out- see yourself from another perspective - someone else’s eyes. Zoom in- what’s causing the negative emotion- are the holidays triggering an earlier issue from the past which is now creating tension in present day dynamics? Are you putting pressure on yourself- if so why? Whose pressure is that- your own or from someone else? Non-judgemental curiosity with a compassionate tone can take the heat off. Have a low threshold for getting support if needed.
3) Perfectionism and placing high standards on yourself are unhelpful . Most things are not perfect especially when there are so many moving parts.
4) Comparisons are not a useful way to go either; people tend to share a positively skewed version and that’s not reality. Not everyone is happy all the time.
5) Know we flow- nothing stays still - everything flows on, including negative emotions. Sometimes we don’t feel happy and that’s ok- it’ll pass eventually as our emotional states are in motion.