By Henry Amador
As the new year approaches we often find ourselves feeling a tad overwhelmed, frustrated and oh so weary.
It’s as if we are looking at life, at ourselves and all the people we encounter with those horrible magnifying makeup mirrors.
Every flaw, every nuance is exaggerated and every feeling seems designed to personally attack and put us on the automatic defense.
We want things to be perfect.
We need things to be perfect and quite frankly we are setting ourselves up for disaster.
I learned a long time ago that there are some simple, yet powerful actions I could put into place to avoid heartache, disaster and allowing those holiday Grinches in.
Here are three.
1. Happy Holidays, I LOVE you and now I want you to GO.
The Holiday season is not the time to break up, ask for a separation or file for a divorce.
This does NOT apply to you if you or your family are in a dangerous situation, please seek help and get out.
For the rest of us, the average Joes, please realize that Hallmark sells just as many sympathy cards as they do congratulations cards.
We are inundated at this time of the year by perfection, the “Snow Globe Families,” perfectly placed and glued to appear magical.
Shake them and they don’t budge or fall apart like we do, they just sparkle even more perfectly.
None of our relationships are that perfect, no husband or wife or significant other is perfect, no gift is perfect and no one else’s life is either.
We feel so critical this time of year that our relationships, by comparison to the ones we think other people have, become completely unacceptable, we can’t imagine living them one second longer.
The separation rate this time of year can be unbelievable and that’s simply because we are usually fearful that we have settled, that we deserve better, we deserve more and that someone else will change all of that.
So how do you avoid this terrible mistake?
Take a deep breath, stop looking for their faults and start remembering the good stuff.
Why did you fall in love?
Why you are together?
How did you feel when you met?
Consider all the good things you experienced the other 11 months of the year.
Hey, if February roles around and you still feel the same, pack it up and call it a day.
Ending a relationship in December is the equivalent of starting one on Valentines Day, both can be doomed and should be avoided at all cost.
2. Aunt Betty doesn’t approve of your life but she is still on the guest list.
I hear a lot about teachable moments, about turning the other cheek and not stirring the pot but I believe in a zero tolerance approach to non-accepting family members and friends.
I have zero tolerance to their intolerance.
Do not put yourself or your family in the position of hosting or accepting an invitation from someone that does not accept you fully.
YOU deserve more and the teachable moment comes when you honestly express why the invitation has been denied or not sent.
The teachable moment belongs to you and your children when you lead by example and show them what pride, love and honor really look like.
The Church can keep it’s “love the sin hate the sinner” shtick and so can they.
Love us or leave us, its pretty simple. If they come around and have those epiphanies folks talk about then welcome them back in the fold but for goodness sake don’t take on the added stress of pretending to be okay with the folks that only pretend to be okay with you one holiday a year. Consider this like a Facebook clean up only on a much healthier and grander scale. We un-friend folks all the time for all kind of reasons, I can not think of a single reason more important than putting you and your family first, can you?
3. Go ahead, judge a gay dad and he’ll show you!
Don’t try to be a Super Santa.
For so many gay parents this time of year brings to mind so much of what we lacked growing up. Much of the feelings we experienced to date morphed into all types of things that we substituted to feel better about ourselves.
Just because we are grown with children of our own does not mean that we have fully sorted through some of those old beliefs and some of us may still find ourselves trying to prove something, whether it be to our own parents, our friends, our communities or to ourselves.
When we allow ourselves to keep things simple, when we allow for imperfection and for choosing memories over money, especially during the holidays, we make room for the moments that dreams are truly made from.
Don’t look out onto a culture that may still be looking for us to fail.
A society that expects less of us as spouses and as parents.
Instead look in, into your hearts and into the eyes of the people that truly love you.
Put all of those images, memories and feelings into your own, perfect and personal snow globe,
the kind we keep out on our mantels all the year long.