Facing the Holiday Firing Squad?

11/27/2012 05:37 pm ET | Updated Jan 26, 2013

Now that you've gotten your dose of gratitude talk (if you're like me, you got 100 emails from people you're subscribed to thanking you so much for being part of their tribe, or telling you what they're thankful for or asking you what you're thankful for -- the same goes if you open your Facebook newsfeed), I wanted to share one different thought for today: feeling good about yourself amidst this holiday craziness.

The holidays can sometimes feel like an inadvertent opportunity for people to get together and judge each other, don't they? I know that I've been at a holiday party or two in which people ask me questions about work or my life that I just can't answer in a "satisfactory" way (the year after law school, for example, when I didn't do much more than read self-help books and do some pro bono legal work, with no path or plan for the future, was a particularly hard year to face inquisitive -- no, inquisitional -- extended family).

After several years of feeling really crappy when people ask me questions that I can't answer to their liking, I've developed the best armor for managing judgmental people: my own self-confidence. If you feel good about yourself, if you can take a deep breath and tell yourself that you're great, that things will work out for you, that you're in transition or you're doing things you're way and that's okay, that there's no one right path or answer and that you are deserving of acceptance and love, then you can handle whatever comes. Because you can deflect the disparaging comments and disapproving garbage. And then -- voila -- these people can't diminish you anymore.

I have friends who go home to moms that tell them to lose weight and pick at their flaws, and others that are waiting to face family or friends that will inevitably ask them critical questions about jobs they don't yet have, or about their dating life when they arrive sans-boyfriend or husband. So arriving to a holiday party is a little like lining up for the firing squad.

If you can identify with this, then take a second before you walk into the arena to get really clear about who you are and give yourself a pep talk. Remember that it's all your love and sensitivity and kindness and all that good stuff at the core of you that matters. It's that you're living your life your way and you're doing your best. It's not whether you have a fancy job or a husband or whether you have that annoying 10 pounds to lose or not. You get to choose how you feel about yourself. No one else's opinion matters. It really doesn't.

Today I'm feeling particularly grateful to feel good about myself, my decisions and where I am right now. Though I'm totally unconventional -- I still can't come up with one good job description that captures what I'm up to, and some people think I'm kinda crazy and need to buckle down already and get real job and start having kids -- I feel really good. I'm happy with what I'm doing and I feel good about myself for holding my ground. I'm going into the holiday season for the first time in a few years feeling completely unshakeable. Despite the criticism I regularly get from even well-intentioned people (someone told me the other day to "get focused" and another said "I'm reaching too high"), I don't care. I'm living my own happy life, my way. And I'm loving it.

I hope you can capture some of this for yourself, too.

On that note, enjoy the holidays. And I'd love for you to comment below if you have thoughts about this -- it's always wonderful to hear from you.

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