When I’m feeling sorry for myself, I sometimes believe that nobody has ever loved me. Not even my parents.
My mind goes back to my childhood and I think of the times that mum and I clashed over some trivial thing.
Every Christmas morning she wanted my brother and I to go and give a gift to Mrs Bailey, the old lady who lived down the road. We hated going, we just wanted to play with our presents and enjoy ourselves. Standing on the doorstep of some lonely old woman holding out a box of carefully wrapped Milk Tray and waiting for her to say something like ‘oh, you shouldn’t have bothered”. Not on our list of enjoyable and exciting ways to spend 25th December.
I thought about it again today when I was wondering why I procrastinate.
We used to make excuses to try and get out of going to Mrs Bailey’s. “She doesn’t want the chocolates anyway Mum. She always tells us we shouldn’t have bothered”. Also we were both shy and found these social duties especially difficult.
So we’d spend as much time as we could playing with our toys and listening to Ed Stewart visiting the hospitals (or whatever was on the radio or TV at the time, it was so long ago I can’t find it on Google) in an attempt to put off the “walk of shame” down Park Close, to number 8.
Anyway I started off by thinking how this terrible task that mum had set us, was a way of ruining our Christmas just out of spite. And that it had had a lasting and damaging effect on me.
But is was also an act of kindness.
So as well as teaching us rightly or wrongly that the pleasure of Christmas had to be earned, by doing a good turn for a neighbour who possibly had no close relatives or friends, it also reminded us that the big day wasn’t just about us.
It taught us to be more empathetic.
And remembering and retelling the story in this way takes away some of the resentment.
It’s easy to remember stories of our childhood and still feel bad. But we are seeing things from a child’s point of view. Like when mum dropped us off at a “cowboy and indians” party where we knew no-one because it might make us “come out of our shells”. It didn’t. It was like dropping someone in a swimming pool to teach them to swim.
Actually I’ll always feel bad about that :).
But anyway, in most cases it can be helpful to look at the situation again from a more objective, adult perspective.
Because you might find that you are holding onto your past in ways that you were not aware of.
Don’t let negative memories of Christmas past, affect your present – see what I did there?