What really matters to you at Christmas?
Ligia Koijen Ramos from in2motivation, an Amsterdam-based personal and professional development company, feels that sometimes we forget what really matters, especially at this time of year, and talks through ways we can centre ourselves and make the most of this Christmas.
In the end, what really matters? Is it Christmas lights? Presents? Our job? Or is it the people that we love?
What really matters? I think this is the question that we should be asking ourselves right now - and I think focus and reality are what really matter for all of us.
What are the simple things that you can be doing to feel better and more at peace with yourself?
No matter what, some people will complain, and some people will be making an enormous effort just to smile. Each one of us is just doing our best to make what matters even more important.
Today I had my third coaching session with one of my clients who has recovered from burnout after two years of looking for a solution, and at the end of the session, she said: “What made the difference was the small things, but the very real things – eating, sleeping, exercise, doing the things that make me happy and really being disciplined in being myself.”
What are your best strategies for dealing with all that is going on right now?
Yes, there will be people doing different things than you. Thinking differently than you. Even if we are at the same time very alike, we are also very different individuals.
One of my coaching clients was really trying to surprise me, saying all the time that she was very complicated, that her family was complicated, and that her relationship was complicated.
I said to her that nothing was very different from what I had already seen, but that I was pretty sure she was using unique strategies to live her life. That is what I want to know, and that is our biggest difference.
What tradition do you want to leave behind, and what tradition do you want to create this year?
This year some of us may not be carrying out our deepest rituals and family traditions over the Christmas period. One of the most important aspects of culture is how we identify ourselves with family rituals - it feels almost as if, without them, we lose a little bit of ourselves.
When I came to the Netherlands, Christmas was different from what I was used to, and in the first year, I was really sad. There was no big family party, no kids running around, no cooking with all my aunts, enjoying all the funny moments. My husband saw how I felt and we started our own tradition as a family, and now our table is a big mix of dishes and sweets. This is a combination of the two cultures, just like our family is. That gave me peace, and building my own tradition with my new family created a new and beautiful meaning for Christmas.
What do you want to say to the people that matter to you?
There will be better times than these. This is something that I honestly believe. But in the end, what really matters?
In another of my coaching sessions, we were dealing with loss and, of course, there were a lot of things to say and things to let go of. But the person was not around any more, so there was a great deal of sadness about not being able to say it to them. This is something that you probably know, but always say to people how much you love them. All the rest are just fantasies and illusions - expectations and us (humans) complicating our own lives.
So, what do you want to say to the people that matter to you? Say it! This is the season, the year of emotional freedom.
Ligia Koijen Ramos is a life coach and motivational speaker at in2motivation, offering personal and professional training courses to optimise individual and group motivation and performance.