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© 2017 by Creative Counseling for Healthy Living, LLC

12 Days of Christmas

What are you giving your loved ones this holiday season? I don't know about you but I did not give ANYONE any birds, golden rings, a Lexus, or even a Peloton exercise bike. The following is a list  of what I DO hope to give my true loves this holiday season in parody form, of course. 

 

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me: quality time together. 

Our time is precious. No matter how we bargain, this exact moment will never come again. What greater gift can we give our loved ones than the gift of our time, our presence?

 

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me: daily leaps of faith and quality time together.

Any close, meaningful relationship requires a degree of vulnerability, the daily leaps of faith that we can trust ourselves to show up and truly be seen, and trust we can survive the hardest of heartaches, when we are not seen as we truly are. 

 

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me: rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

Humor seriously has a variety of health benefits, and is useful in relationships by helping people feel closer, increasing conversation and eye contact. A healthy sense of humor helps us to recognize our common humanity and offer ourselves and others acceptance. 

 

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith and quality time together.

Words of affirmation is a love language for good reason. Our words matter as do our tone and sincerity. We don't have to be poets to be affirming - try small statements expressing how we feel, what we notice and appreciate about our loved ones will work. 

 

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

Loving unconditionally is to love without the promise of love in return, the act is selfless, as does it require a profound sense of self-love and self-trust and is bounded, which seems paradoxical. Unconditional love may be the most challenging and freeing love we can give. 

 

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

Thanks to our mammalian brain and presence of oxytocin, physical touch helps us feel more connected, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol and overall stress levels.

 

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

The best long-term relationships are those in which all people involved have the space and support to continue growing as individuals. Quality time together is great, but there can be too much of a good thing. No two people are completely alike, pursuing our own interests may help us to live more authentically which means there's just more of us to love. 

 

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: acts of service, room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

Acts of service are such a sweet gift since it takes the doer of deeds to notice the need, the willingness to do, and the follow through to get it done. Personally I think extra brownie points should be awarded to the doer for the most mundane, annoying chores like stirring the new jar of natural peanut butter. 

 

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: plenty o' forgiveness, acts of service, room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith and quality time together. 

We're all human, and bound to get hurt or even do the hurting if we're ever in a relationship long-term. It's just the messy human part of connecting with others. There's going to be empathy misses, miscommunication, and maybe even moments of selfishness, but we can always circle back and hopefully there will always be plenty of forgiveness. 

 

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me clear communication, plenty o' forgiveness, acts of service, room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

In a perfect world we would all know exactly how we feel, believe, and think and would be able to express it clearly. Likewise, we would be so unbiased in our own feeling, thinking, and believing we would also understand others' perspectives perfectly. Well, we're human and we can continue practicing communicating clearly. Two of my favorite starters are, "I feel blank when . . ." and "The story I am telling myself is . . ."

 

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: warm acceptance, clear communication, plenty o' forgiveness, acts of service, room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together. 

Warm acceptance is one of my favorite things. Oh wait, wrong song. In all seriousness, isn't the relaxed, welcomed feeling we get knowing we can come exactly as we are in sweats and a messy bun just the best! Those just might be my most authentic, genuine moments of connection. 

 

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: the best gift ever, warm acceptance, clear communication, plenty o' forgiveness, acts of service, room for growing, hands for holding, love without conditions, words affirming, rings of laughter, daily leaps of faith, and quality time together.

Personally, I find so much meaning and purpose in my relationships. I truly believe relationships are the best gift ever whether it be with a spouse, my parents, children, siblings, extended family, friends, or my clients. The only thing we have to give in this life is ourselves, and what better way to do it than to genuinely connect with others giving and taking along the way. 

 

 

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