Bah-humbug you say?
Don't feel shamed into acting festive when you're just not feeling it. Instead of masking your distaste or disinterest with tinsel and ropes of shiny artificial greenery, embrace your Inner Scrooge this year. Experts say you'll feel better for it.
"Many people can have complicated feelings about the holidays for whatever reason," explains Rendueles Villalba II, MD, unit chief of the Integrated Therapies Program at Butler Hospital and associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "It can be pretty isolating because they can be made to feel there is something wrong with them for having such 'hang-ups,' which will certainly do little to help their lack of enthusiasm."
Dr. Villalba suggests that an "Inner Scrooge" can exist in the same way one can indulge an "inner child." Rather than suppress it – which he says is not good for "emotional authenticity or existential integrity" – embrace it as a "wonderful character of transformation."
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"Maybe Scrooge is our salvation, the inner patron saint for the holiday doubter," he says. "Recall that Scrooge starts off a miserly and miserable party pooper, then is visited by the ghosts of his past, present and future for an existential tutorial. He comes out on the other side a new man. Could we not all benefit from a self-examination of this sort? Is that not what holidays are supposed to be about – appraisal of our shortcomings and real movement toward our ideals?"
If bah humbug is how you feel, Dr. Villalba suggests so be it. Do not resign yourself to this, however. Adopt an air of acceptance, which is acknowledgement that allows for growth.
"If anti-cheer is a first step toward enlightenment, this is a truth worth accepting," he says.
For more information, please visit butler.org/partial/Integrated-Therapies-Program