PSYCHOLOGIES No. 47
The flip side of the holidays: why are they not all happy
Man among people
Some believe that the holiday is an extravaganza, miracles and gifts, they are looking forward to it, unfolding large-scale preparatory activities. And others, on the contrary, come up with escape routes in order to avoid fuss and congratulations. There are those who have festive dates cause heavy forebodings.
“For 22 years I lived in a hostel with my parents,” recalls 30-year-old Yakov. – In my childhood, holidays were days of opportunities, dangers and major changes. I knew well with a dozen other families. And I understood that in one place you can eat something tasty, play without adults, and in another they’ll beat someone today, with a roar and shouts of “Kill!”. Different plots unfolded in front of me. And even then I realized that life is much more multifaceted than drawing on a holiday card. ”
Where does this difference come from?
Script from the past
“On weekdays and holidays, we reproduce what we saw before, in childhood, in the family where we grew up and raised. These scenarios and how it was customary with us are anchored in us, explains Denis Naumov, a clinical psychologist specializing in transactional analysis. – Someone in a fun company gathered relatives, friends of parents, gave presents, laughed a lot. And someone has other memories in which a holiday is just an excuse to drink, and as a result – inevitable fights, quarrels. ” But we can not only reproduce the once accepted scenario, but also act in a counter-scenario.
“I really didn’t want to repeat in my family what I saw as a child: dad drank on weekdays, and on holidays everything got worse, so we didn’t celebrate birthdays so as not to arrange feasts once again, not to provoke dad,” 35 year old Anastasia. – And my husband does not drink and carries me in his arms. And I’m waiting for birthdays not in alarm, but with joy. ”
But some of those whose family history does not contain difficult scenes, celebrate holidays without much enthusiasm, resigned to them as inevitably, avoid friendly and family gatherings, refuse gifts and congratulations …
Holidays are not only a way to return joy to your “little self,” but also an opportunity to streamline life.
“Parents endow us with a message that we carry through our whole lives,” continues Denis Naumov, “and this message defines the life scenario. From parents or significant adults, we learn not to accept praise, not to share “stroking” with others. I met with clients who thought it was a shame to celebrate a birthday: “What right do I have to pay attention to myself? To praise oneself is not good, to show off is not good. ” Often people who do not know how to praise themselves, to please, to give presents to themselves, suffer from depression in adulthood. One way to help ourselves is to pamper our inner child, which is in each of us, to support and learn to praise. ”
Accepting gifts, giving them to others, allowing yourself to celebrate a birthday or just giving yourself an extra day off is for some of us aerobatics, which takes a long time to learn again.
But the holidays are not only a way of returning joy to your “little self”, but also an opportunity to streamline life.
Everyone comes to this world with a single initial reserve – time. And all our life we try to occupy him with something. “From the point of view of transactional analysis, we have a need for structure: we create a scheme for life, it’s calmer,” says Denis Naumov. – Chronology, numbers, hours – all this was invented in order to somehow classify, structure what is around us, and everything that happens to us. Without this, we worry, lose ground. Big dates, holidays work for the same global task – to give us confidence and integrity of the world and life. ”
Confidence that, in spite of everything, the New Year will come on the night of December 31 to January 1, and a new stage in life will count off. Therefore, even if we do not want to arrange a feast or a grand event from the red day of the calendar, these dates are fixed by consciousness. And in what emotions we color them, the matter is different.
We total the past 12 months, feel sad, parting with the past, and rejoice in meeting the future
Holidays are what connects us with nature, says analytical psychologist Alla German. “The first thing that a person once paid attention to a long time ago was the cyclical nature of the day and seasons. There are four key points in the year: the spring and autumn equinox, the winter and summer solstices. Each nation attached key holidays to these points. For example, European Christmas falls at the winter solstice. At this time, daylight hours are shortest. It seems the darkness is about to triumph. But soon the sun begins to gain strength. A star in the sky lights up, announcing the coming of light. ”
European Christmas is loaded with a symbolic meaning: this is the beginning, threshold, reference point. At such moments, we summarize the past 12 months, feel sad, parting with the past, and rejoice when we meet the future. Each year is not a run in a circle, but an exit to a new round in a spiral, with new experience that we are trying to comprehend at these key points. But this is not always possible. Why?
What do Russians like to celebrate?
In October 2018, the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) released the results of a survey on its favorite holidays in Russia.
Foreign holidays – Halloween, Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day – have not yet become widespread with us. According to the survey, only 3-5% of the population mark them. The top 8 dates that most Russians love are:
- New Year – 96%,
- Victory Day – 95%,
- International Women’s Day – 88%,
- Defender of the Fatherland Day – 84%,
- Easter – 82%
- Christmas of Christ – 77%,
- Spring and Labor Day – 63%,
- Russia Day – 54%.
They also gained a lot of votes:
- National Unity Day – 42%,
- Valentine’s Day – 27%,
- Cosmonautics Day – 26%,
- Eid al-Adha – 10%.
“Sometimes we come to a holiday overflowing with information, events. We do not have time to recycle this material, so the tension persists, ”says Alla German. – You need to pour it somewhere, somehow discharge. Therefore, fights, injuries and hospitalizations happen, which are especially numerous on holidays. More alcohol is also consumed at this time, and it reduces internal censorship and releases our Shadow – negative qualities that we hide from ourselves. ”
Shadow can also manifest itself in verbal aggression: in many Christmas films (for example, Love Coopers, directed by Jesse Nelson, 2015), the assembled family quarrels first, and then reconciles in the finale. And someone goes on to physical actions, unleashing a real war in the family, with neighbors, friends.
But there are eco-friendly ways to let off steam – for example, dance or go on a trip. Or to have a party with abundant refreshments and unusual costumes. And not necessarily on holidays, although more often it is dedicated to an event that causes strong emotions in many people.
Releasing your Shadow without harming others is the best way to free your crowded cup.
The psychologist suggests recalling the World Cup in the summer of 2018: “I live in the center of Moscow, and we heard around the clock cries of joy and delight, then wild animal roars,” recalls Alla German, “completely different feelings were combined in one space and emotions. And the fans, and those who are far from sports, played out a symbolic confrontation: the country against the country, the team against the team, ours against not ours. Thanks to this, they could be heroes, throw away the accumulated in the soul and body, show all aspects of their psyche, including the shadow. ”
Similarly, in previous centuries, carnivals took place in Europe, where the king could dress as a beggar, and a pious lady a witch. Releasing your Shadow without harming others is the best way to free your crowded cup.
The modern world has gained a crazy pace. Running, running, running … Advertising from screens, posters, shop windows encourages us to make purchases, lures us with promotions and discounts, puts pressure on guilt: did you buy gifts for parents, children? .. “On holidays, I look for the fifth corner to hide, – 38-year-old Vlad is recognized. – The society requires fuss: to cook, set the table, perhaps receive guests, call someone, congratulate. I decided that during the holidays it’s better for me to go to a hotel by the sea, where you can do nothing, just be with your loved one. ”
And 40-year-old Victoria, too, had once been lonely on such days: she had recently divorced and had ceased to fit into family companies. “And then I began to find in this silence an opportunity to hear what I really want, think and dream about how I will live.”
It’s not very customary for us to take stock of our birthday and make plans for the future. “But in the accounting department of any, even a small company, a balance is necessarily reduced and a budget for the next year is created,” says Alla German. “So why not do the same in your life?” For example, during the celebration of the Jewish New Year, it is customary to conduct “days of silence” – to remain alone with yourself and digest the accumulated experience and emotions. ” And not only digest, but also accept both victory and failure. And this is not always fun.
Once decide and stop waiting, as in childhood, a miracle and magic, and create it with your own hands
“But this is the sacred meaning of the holidays, when opposites meet. A holiday is always two poles, it is the closure of one stage and the opening of a new one. And often these days we experience a crisis, ”explains Alla German. “But the ability to experience this polarity allows us to experience catharsis, deciphering the deep meaning in it.”
Whether the holiday will be funny or sad is our decision, Denis Naumov is convinced: “This is the moment of choice: with whom I want to start a new stage of life, and with whom not. If we feel that we need to be alone, we have the right to do so. Or we conduct an audit and recall those who have received little attention recently, those who are dear, call them or go visit. Making an honest choice for yourself and others is sometimes the most difficult, but also the most resourceful. ”
For example, one day decide and stop waiting, as in childhood, a miracle and magic, and create it with your own hands. How does the 45-year-old Daria. “Over the years, I have learned to include an internal holiday. Loneliness? Well, then, I will catch the buzz in it. Close? So, I will be glad to communicate with them. Did someone new come up? Well, cool! I stopped building expectations. And it’s so cool! ”
How not to offend loved ones?
Often family traditions prescribe to spend holidays with relatives. Sometimes we agree out of guilt: otherwise they will be offended. How to negotiate with loved ones and not spoil your holiday?
“I know many stories when adult children are forced to spend holidays with elderly parents from year to year. Or gather at the same table with relatives, because it is customary in the family. Breaking this tradition means going against, ”explains Denis Naumov. “And we are relegating our needs to the background to please the needs of others.” But unspoken emotions will inevitably burst out in the form of stinging remarks or even quarrels: it is very difficult to make oneself happy when it’s not joyful.
To show healthy egoism is not only possible, but also useful. It often seems that parents will not understand us if we speak frankly with them. And to start a conversation is very scary. In reality, an adult loving person is able to hear us. Understand that we cherish it and will definitely come on another day. But we want to spend this New Year with friends. To agree and make a conversation as an adult with an adult is the best way to avoid feelings of guilt on our part and offenses on the other. ”