Whether the holidays excite or overwhelm you, being authentic is key.

Dorothy Firman Ed.D. LMHC, BCC


  • Living in relationship to values, life purpose, and our own true nature offers a healthy way to move through the holiday season.
  • Though we are pulled by external demands and inner conflicts, we can make our best choices based on the deepest knowing of ourselves.
  • Self-knowledge and self-care are gifts we give ourselves.

Most of us are being called, in almost every moment, by the world and its demands, its suggestions, its ideas, and its “shoulds.” As the holiday season races in, the mailbox, emails, text messages, phone calls, news feeds, and social media, as well as our friends and families, give us advice, ask for our help, and tell us what is better and what is wrong. Every day we are asked to buy something, give money, or be with people, whether we want to or not. All of this may work for some of us, but it certainly does not work for many of us!

If we have deeply held rituals, ways of being with people we love, and spiritual or religious beliefs and practices, we may find solace and joy in these experiences. But how much do we get pulled off-center because of external pressures? Do we remember how to say “no”? Are we practicing enough self-care to keep us healthy and not overly stressed? Do we know what we love? Where we find pleasure? What we really want to do?

There is, for many of us, the experience (rarely or often) of feeling aligned in body, feelings, and mind. We are at peace. We carry enough certainty to trust our next steps. And we have faith in ourselves. We have made a choice that moves from our highest wisdom and deepest values into action. This might be big—choosing a major lifepath, taking a stand, honoring our call to creativity—and it might be small—that nap we know we need, the kindness we share for no personal gain, the food we choose to eat.

You know this experience. It has been yours on many occasions. Sometimes this alignment with being true to ourselves is hardwon through trial and error, considering and reconsidering, falling and getting up again. Sometimes it happens as easily as the next breath. I suspect it shall always be a process with no clear set of rules.

Yet I know, in my heart and mind, in my body and soul, and out of a long life of experience, that we can help clear the way for the truth of ourselves, to have easier access to the rest of our being: our personalities, our cultures, our families, our habits. How to do this?

How do we clear the way for our own unique truth to guide us?

There are many ways, but here is a list (and with so many more that could be added) that may help us through the holidays and through our lives forever.

1. Stay tuned in to your own deepest values. They will lead you in the right direction!

2. Attend to the information you get from your body (tight or relaxed?), your mind (clear or conflicted?), your feelings (smooth or ragged?), and from your spirit, however you know that. These are powerful clues to what is right for you.

3. Step back from your world enough to see it in its complexity and, especially, to see how your world hooks you. When you see the hooks, you’ll have some choice!

4. Remember to breathe. It is well worth learning how to best breathe for your own capacity to center yourself. There is no one way and lots of how-to’s, but let this be your experience of how slow, deep breathing works for you.

5. Attend to your inner dialogues: the cast of characters that play out in your head are often in conflict with each other and way too often act as voices of inner critics. See them, try to understand them a bit, and know they are not you. “I have these inner thoughts, words, limiting beliefs, and I am more than that.”

6. Pause! We are often so driven by “go fast” consciousness that we forget to pause, forget to smell the roses, forget to give ourselves even a small break. A pause invites being in our world rather than the oh-so-demanding “doing” in our world.

7. Wake up to a sense of purpose in life. Big, maybe, or simply today’s purpose. Goals may derive from purpose, but the purpose is sacred and defines our unfolding, so invite it in as qualities of being: gratitude, love, quiet, creativity, whatever you are called towards.

Dorothy Firman

At peace

Source: Dorothy Firman

8. Take a chance on anything that is important to you and notice that every stumble is an opportunity to take another step.

9. See other beings in the light of your own kindness, caring, and deep wish for peace. Act towards them from that place.

10. Fill in the end of this list with your own knowledge. What you know is deep, true, and it is you. Can’t ask for more than that!

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