Where There is Willingness, There is a Way

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

In the midst of the holiday season, there are many things that pull us in different directions—family time, holiday parties, travel, shopping—causing the holidays to bring up a lot of things we have to do rather than things we want to do. As a result, many clients express anxiety during the holidays and added pressure with the “I have to” statements, particularly when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions. So, how do we bring back that long-lost child-like sparkle during the holiday season? Sometimes a simple shift in our willingness can make all the difference with our motivation, enjoyment, and satisfaction.

Willingness is about being open to our demands without judgement or refusal. It is about changing our mindset and making a choice to participate. So, when you have to go to your Aunt Sally’s seven hour dinner, are you willing to go or are you doing it because Mom said you have to? When you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, are you willing to diet and exercise or are you just saying it because you have to lose weight? It is worthwhile to check in with your willingness and to identify reasons why you’re choosing to participate. Try asking yourself these three simple questions:

  1. Why is this important?

  2. How will I enjoy this?

  3. What am I willing to do?

When something becomes your choice and you understand what it will entail, you become willing to do whatever it takes to do it. It’s about not focusing on what you think it will take from you, but rather what you’re willing to give it. So, yes, you are going to go to Aunt Sally’s and listen to Uncle Richard tell the same story about his cat, Felix, for the 50th time, but you will go because it’s important to you to see your cousins and family, you will enjoy eating good home-cooked food, and you are willing to put on a smile. Be in charge of your own experience and, from this, happiness will join you.

Amy Brightman is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support with prioritizing self-care, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to learn more about how therapy can help.