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December 13th, 2016 by Marta J. Papa


Part 3: Maybe It’s Not a Marital Problem…Maybe It’s a Holiday Problem

As promised from the end of last week’s blog posting, let’s explore if you are inclined to suffer from a predictable holiday blues cycle each year: aka The Holiday Marital False Alarm Syndrome (HMFAS).

The place to begin is with an honest personal inventory. As the 12 Step Programs advise, making a “searching and fearless moral inventory” is often a necessary requirement for personal enlightenment, empowerment, and significant behavioral change. To that end, I always advise my malcontent seasonal clients, whom I have assessed as being not divorce-ready (but, rather, holiday-weary!) to write out a response to six crucial questions. Let’s review them:

  1. What kind of life do you need in order to be happy?

Write out a thoughtful paragraph that describes and envisions your life-world as you would ideally construct it. Think of this paragraph as a formal statement that pronounces how a life well-lived and meaningful would be defined by you.

  1. What would that agreeable life look like?

Now, furnish that paragraph with specific details. What are its components?

(What people, places, activities, and objects are most important to you?) What components are non-negotiable and, thus, necessary for your well-being?

  1. In what ways are you already living this life?

Be honest here…remember, it takes honesty to acknowledge what is working, as well as what is not!

  1. In what ways are you not living your best life?

What do you perceive is missing from your life? What prevents you from experiencing one that is well-lived and personally rewarding?

  1. Why not? What are your obstacles?

This is a crucial question and, perhaps, the most telling response. Is there an external obstacle(s)? Is a person preventing you (your spouse)? Are parental responsibilities preventing you (your children)? Are career objectives preventing you (over worked/under worked)? Are finances preventing you (not enough money/too much debt)? Are others preventing you (parents? friends? relatives? co-workers)?

  1. What needs to change, so you can live this more rewarding life?

What circumstances? (A re-location? A job? A different parenting plan?)

And/or what person/people? (Your mother-in-law? Your boss? A child who is destructively acting out? Your spouse? You?)

By thoughtfully responding to these six questions, you will be well on your way to important personal discoveries.   Perhaps you have not clearly articulated your deepest desires before now. Perhaps you have been so busy earning a living and/or parenting your children that you have lost focus on what genuinely brings you joy and a sense of well-being. Perhaps you now can recognize what is preventing you from living your best life.

Invariably, with my clients’ honest and fearless responses to these six question, I am equipped (as are they!) to proceed with their best interests advanced.