It’s December 2020. COVID-19 continues to affect our lives. Nothing looks the way we thought it would this holiday season.

My sister lives in Madison, Wisconsin. We are close. Typically, my daughter, my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, my nieces and I spend our holidays together. The last time we saw one another was December 2019. We’ve delayed seeing one another again and again in 2020. We tried to plan to be together for my daughter’s graduation from high school in May, we tried to plan to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday in the midwest in July and in Boise in October. We ended up cancelling all of those get-togethers because of COVID-19.

We decided to plan a trip to Madison with my parents, my daughter and I over the December holidays. We had it all worked out. Then the COVID numbers climbed and climbed, the hospitals got more and more full, all of our work turned remote. We made a difficult decision over the weekend that the most responsible and safest choice was to delay that trip.

You may be able to relate. Maybe you aren’t postponing trips but perhaps you are changing how your normal holidays look, how you spend time with friends, how and where you shop. It might be that you are looking for new ways to celebrate this year as well. It’s not easy. No matter how you feel about COVID, it’s not easy right now.

I found I needed to reframe the way I was thinking about this decision. Reframing thinking is part of the opening of chapter 11 in my new book, “EmpowerHer: A Memoir and a Map”. I will tell you how we shifted our thinking at the end of this post.

In my new book, “EmpowerHer: A Memoir and Map” chapter 11 is about how to create a life that you love. This is relevant to everyone! For those people who have survived abuse, this is especially important because it can be easy to find ourselves in a slump and feeling badly.

In chapter 11 I write..

“We can each create a life that we love. It may not always feel like we have a choice, especially if you are in a rut or if things feel hard.We each can create a life that we love. It may not always feel like we have a choice, especially if you are in a rut or things feel hard. We really may not have options in our circumstances, but we always choose how we respond to the things that come our way. Owning that power is a significant step towards your personal empowerment. It’s easy to get stuck in negativity and into being a victim. Sometimes we tell ourselves we are stuck or that we don’t have choices. This isn’t true. Often we say we don’t have a choice when we don’t like all of our options.

You do have a choice to quit a job you hate. You could quit before you have another job lined up. You probably choose not to do that because you would like to pay some bills between now and when you get the job lined up. When we are in a slump – and abused people can find themselves in a slump – it’s easy to forget that we have a choice.

If we aren’t willing to choose the thing we don’t want (to be without an income, for example), a way to change your energy around that is to remember you are choosing to stay in the job to continue to pay your bills. That subtle shift can take you out of being a victim and help you stand in your power. I’m talking about this when I say that we can choose how we respond to our circumstances. Reminding ourselves that we are consciously choosing things helps.”

That feels so relevant. Reminding ourselves that we are consciously and continuously making choices helps.

I didn’t like the choice that I made to not to Madison for the holidays. I really wanted to be there. I really wanted to see my family. But here’s how we shifted our thinking.

We decided to postpone our trip for a few more months in hopes that we can spend a few more years together.

We all have a choice. If we start to tell ourselves we don’t have choices, it can feel depressing, overwhelming and oppressive. Even when we choose between two things we don’t like, it’s a choice.

Remembering to let go and lean on our higher powers also helps. I invite you to pick up a copy of my new book. If you’ve grabbed it, please give me your honest review on Amazon. I’m also welcoming personal feedback on it so feel free to reach out.

Let’s talk. All my love.

Brenda

XOXO

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