Okay, truth time. Life can be complex, messy, and whole lot of hard work, especially this time of year. I know, you need a six-month vacation – twice a year. You know what they say: A vacation is what you take, when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking. Well, at least for this holiday it’s mandatory to drink four cups of wine, eh? Lol.

We all want to be perceived as successful – be admired, appreciated, and respected by others, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. So how do you learn to focus on improving yourself instead of trying to impress everyone around you? It’s simply exhausting trying to be everything to everyone.

You do not have inherent worth because of what you think, say, or even do. You are lovable and valuable, simply, because you are. Still carrying a negative mindset wherever you go? Well, then, don’t bother filling up that bucket if it’s still full of holes.

We can all use a guide or even a sage, at times, to help us see the blind spots that we can’t or refuse to see in ourselves. We all say that we wish to change things. But what we really want is for things to change. Please find a trusted, spiritual friend who can bring true honesty into your life. Phoneys, fakes, and frauds are a dime a dozen. The only thing you should want from fake people is: distance. Life is simply too short for fake butter, cheese, or people. Working on yourself may not be comfortable, but trust me: It will keep you humble. So seek out some of that tough love. Not everything went your way? Sometimes you simply need to pour yourself a glass of “Get Over It.”

Are you planning to spend the holiday staring at cupcake boards on Pinterest? Heh. My best advice is to be orderly and disciplined, no matter what you are trying to do. Do what needs to get done, even if you don’t want to. Sometimes you have to decide between what you want now and what you want most.

Practice being there for yourself, especially this time of year. Ultimately, you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, so please do not allow others to determine your level of self-satisfaction. Why give them so much power over you? We need to take responsibility for our own feelings, sweet friends. Emotional self-sufficiency goes a long way. And no need to travel to Tibet to find yourself. Because, guess what? Wherever you go, your troubles will go right along with you.

We are truly just passengers in this journey of life. Then again, sometimes you feel like the passenger in the backseat on an unpredictable ride, and the driver has bailed. Good grief. Try not to get too attached to anyone or anything. Nothing lasts forever. If we do not acknowledge the fact that we may lose someone someday, we tend to take them for granted.

You know that amazing feeling when you go to bed knowing your entire house is clean? Yeah, neither do I. Lol. You know what I tell them: I just cleaned everything from top to bottom, so now I’m gonna need everyone to stop living here. Ha. Suppose family members are not helping you clean the house. Sheesh, I know. But before you toss the blame, try asking yourself this question, please: How does this make me feel? Perhaps you feel unappreciated or disappointed. Zero in on your emotions and perhaps why you feel that way. By focusing on yourself first, you can take a deep breath and calmly explain to your loved ones how you feel or what you expect of them, without shouting or losing what’s left of your mind.

Did you know that stress is contagious? When you hang out with someone who is perennially uptight or upset, your own body’s stress response gets triggered. So stop inhaling that second-hand stress. Trust me; the universe is not conspiring against you, even if it feels that way at times. Try to learn from your past and even from other people’s past.

There’s a reason why it’s so important to eat and dress well and to try to stay healthy. It all takes effort. And self-discipline is the secret behind true self-esteem. Speaking of which, wouldn’t it be nice if retail therapy was covered by insurance? Lol. Consider each thing you do, and don’t do. You don’t want to grow old as the exact same person you are today, do you? Every day that passes without some positive change keeps you that much further from living the life you truly want.

Speaking of cleaning, you know what they say: “If everyone swept in front of their own door, the world would be a cleaner place.” All you have to do, sweet friends, is your own part.

P.S. The words are not “Next year in Orlando.” Heh.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.