Nothing brings families together better than the jolly holiday of Christmas.
Christmas is the blissful time of year when everyone erases records of wrongs, sets aside differences to dine together in one hearty feast, and gives gifts joyfully as it is also a season of generosity. Because it’s also a tradition that’s celebrated on the last month of the year, it encourages people to reflect about what happened throughout the year — the challenges we’ve overcome, the blessings we’ve received, the goals we were able to cross off our bucket lists, the places we’ve explored and the memories we’ve made in them, and perhaps above all, the people who were with us each step of the way.
These people are the ones who have joined us in our ups and downs and they deserve recognition on Christmas day for their outstanding efforts to keep us on the good and right track over the past eleven months. The ones who cheered us on during our big wins and small wins but were also the ones who, when the year was taking an ugly turn, stayed and soldiered through the rough roads with us. These are the ones we call parents.
Our parents really take their time in thinking about what to get for us on Christmas. Then they patiently wade their way in crowded malls and wait in long lines just to buy the perfect gift that they think would make us feel special. Parents always have our best interests in mind, they always take delight in seeing us happy. This is how they’ve always been, not just throughout the year but throughout our lives. So on a special occasion of love and thanksgiving, it’s only right to do the same for them in return. And what better way to thank our parents than to give them the gift of honor?
To honor someone is not to simply thanks for the material things they’ve graciously given, but more importantly, to show appreciation for all that they’ve done for us – to show deep gratitude for the impact they’ve made in our lives. This Christmas, let’s give our parents a gift that lasts so they can always remember how much we respect and value their great role in shaping us into the kind of human beings we have grown up to be. A gift with no expiration and no diminishing value. A gift that doesn’t run out, fade, or fail. A gift that won’t get lost as time passes or won’t be just another thing to add in the pile of forgotten presents in the attic. Let us give them a gift that reminiscences the good times we’ve had as a family, with them as the pillars that keep our home safe and steady. A gift that reminds them of their favorite days, so they can always have something to look back to. This Christmas, let’s give our parents a video gift that shows how much we appreciate what they do.
The truth is, we can never outgive our parents. So the best gift we can offer to the ones who daily give their lives to see us live; to the ones who have given up so much, sometimes even their own dreams; and the ones who keep on giving — is a gift that honestly depicts how grateful we are for everything they’ve given.
According to psychology, we have at least 5 basic emotions: joy, sadness, disgust, fear, and anger. All our daily actions and decisions, no matter how big or how small, can be traced back to feeling one of these. For instance, a person can do something as simple as sing in the shower because he is happy. A person can also decide on something as big as moving to a different town because of fear or disgust. Most days, it’s easy to identify how one is feeling. But then there are days when our emotions feel like they’re running all over the place. It’s a healthy practice to keep our emotions grounded so we can keep them in check and prevent them from controlling us instead of the other way around.
Joy is easiest defined as a positive feeling. There can be several levels of joy depending on situations or circumstances, ranging from simply being content to being in an intensely festive mood. Although there are generic or universal activities that are known to make people happy such as theme parks or going to parties, it’s good to note that people have different things that make them feel joy, so others may not exactly relate to what makes one person happy. For all we know, some people may be afraid of theme parks or feel alone in parties.
Sadness, on the other hand, is a natural emotion that we feel in response to negative situations. This feeling is associated to experiences of loss, sorrows, and disappointments. It can be triggered by situations as little as not being able to attend a friend’s birthday or something as despairing as losing a loved one. Sadness is usually accompanied by a feeling of pain which affects our behavior, making us stare blankly and wanting isolation or crying. People can experience sadness for a short period of time while some people with depression live for years feeling unable to be happy again.
Disgust is a feeling of revulsion over something that’s either physically or morally offensive or distasteful. Fear is a familiar emotion that we’ve all felt at one point. Just like the other emotions, fear has a different meaning for every person and one person may have more that one fear. It can be our brain’s response to something that we feel is threatening our safety. We feel fear when we sense danger, sometimes we feel it even at the slightest discomfort. We can feel it because of the reality of what’s happening or what has happened to as before which resulted into a trauma. But we can also feel it irrationally, without enough evidence that what we’re afraid of should actually be feared, which can also develop into a phobia.
Lastly, anger is what we feel when we are antagonized by someone or a situation. It can range from mild irritation over another person’s behavior to escalated aggression that gets people into physical fights and in worst case scenarios, results to nasty crimes.
We’ve referenced a simple chart below to help pinpoint the emotions you may be dealing with.
|SADNES S||Melancholy||Despair||Self-Loathin g||Anxiety||Betrayal|
|DISGUST||Intrigue||Self-Loathin g||Prejudice||Revulsio n||Loathing|
It’s important to know that the basic five can blend into one another to form other kinds or levels of emotions. Looking at all these emotional hybrids, it’s a significant note that no one emotion is better than the others. It’s always a matter of having the right judgement in every circumstance. For example, although joy is a positive feeling, we can argue that being happy and positive all the time can weaken our moral compass. When we always choose to be contented with everything around us, we may become easier to manipulate. When we’re always happy about our own lives, we become susceptible to being indifferent towards the grief of others. In the same way, sadness, although generally a negative feeling, can actually mold us into a more compassionate human being — the key word here is empathy.
Having an overview of these basic emotions is helpful in identifying what you’re really feeling. And identifying how you feel is the first step towards resolving issues or correcting behaviors that are results of losing control of or being controlled by our emotions.
Have you noticed the spreading efforts of making people know that mental health matters? Have you noticed the number of artists taken down by depression? And it’s always the ones you’d least expect. It’s always the happy person that takes the fall, the one whose personality doesn’t seem to need any emotional processing because they seem to have life figured out anyway. They always seem okay. We are only under the impression that they are perfectly fine all the time because our culture has shaped this generation into a “be seen” kind of people.
The image is everything. Being seen as the strong one. Being seen as the funny friend. Being seen as the wise. We all want to “be seen” in a certain way. We project ourselves for everyone to see how we seemingly walk through life with ease, we paint our lives through our social media posts — our status updates and photos of where we are, what we’re doing, and who we are with. But the whole thing can be performative. You can post about being in a coffee shop and it would gather likes because people can see that you are at peace, you are calm and collected. Yet they don’t see the thoughts that were bothering you while you were there. You can post about being in a party, the whole set up with lights and booze. It gathers likes because people love seeing other people having fun, it depicts that you are living your life, that you are young and carefree. But they don’t see the sadness that creeps in when the party’s over. People only know what we show. And more often than not, we show the things we show because we think this is what would depict the life we want other people to think we have. Unfortunately, this kind of culture has also developed a habit of suppressing emotions.
Since the image has primarily become our priority, we tend to set our true feelings aside to give way to put on a mask of fabricated emotions. We can sometimes think that we’re not supposed to feel a certain way because the image and status we’ve built our lives upon is of the opposite. For example, if a teenager projects himself as the cool kid on campus and his whole “be seen” mindset revolves around doing things that other teenagers would find him cool for, it is most likely that he won’t entertain the thought of opening himself up to discuss his true emotions about his parents. Another example is when a husband who always seems so stern and strong feels like he can’t be tender with his wife in public with small gestures that show how much he appreciates her because he doesn’t want people to think that he indeed has a soft spot.
What is cultivated by this kind of thinking is the fear of vulnerability. And maybe that’s partly because we’re also afraid that no one would listen. Or that the person who will listen won’t feel your story in the way that you meant it to feel like. Or maybe we’re simply afraid of not knowing what to say and how to say it. But we need to understand the importance of telling the right stories at the right time. It is crucial to express our feelings towards the people we care about while they’re still around to appreciate it fully. Expressing emotions don’t necessarily have to be done with beautiful words. It can be through a universal platform that goes beyond language — like a photograph or a video gift that captures and shows your love, appreciation, and gratitude to whom it is presented to.
You can honor your parents or tell your wife how much you love her through images that show how you really feel. This way, you are not just seen for who you are but your stories are also heard, finally, by those who matter most. Always remember to speak your truth. Because your memories can be lifetime gifts.