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Remember your best holiday; how about the worst one of all? Why do we remember holidays with much greater clarity than other times in our lives, why are they important? Holidays carry on the ancient tradition of celebrating things with a ceremony; the seasons, harvests and the important events that matter to each culture. Ceremonies are important to humans; they cement a lifetime of memories into our minds and hearts. They make us pause from everyday life and look closely at something our nation believes is noteworthy. Whatever the holiday, we are reminded that this day is important.
Our attitudes about holidays are formed as children; Christmas is the most celebrated day in America and is frequently one of the first memories children recount. If you want to know the truth about someone's childhood memories, just observe how they feel about major holidays. If Christmas makes them angry or sad it may signal really stressful times during the holidays in their childhood. The causes are varied; some originate from low household income to substance abuse that increases during the holidays or a really sad event that happened during that time. Regardless the cause, we remember.
Why are ceremonies and holidays so important to us? They mark the passing of time and significant events in our lives. Even if you can't remember a date that something important happened, you will probably remember which holiday it was near. If any special date makes you feel things you would rather not feel it is important to examine why it stimulates those feelings. No matter what emotions are inspired, the attitude that lies within that emotion is founded on your personal experiences and memories that trigger the old emotions.
Attitudes and habits are closely aligned; one is the foundation of the other. Like any habit you want to eliminate or change, the easiest path to achieve the change is by replacing one habit with another that inspires the things you want to feel. It is a little more difficult when feelings of sorrow are inspired because someone you loved died on or near a holiday or significant date. It requires spending that date reviewing the best of that relationship, of honoring who that person was and the best they brought into your life. This is not forgetting the person but choosing to celebrate the best of them.
Many times we feel guilty if we release sadness or guilt about losses in our life; as though somehow that means that we don't care. When we are caught up in those emotions we tend to embrace the pain as though somehow that means we still care; yet holding on causes the pain. If you are willing to let go of the pain you are free to find the best in every hard or bad memory, allowing it to pivot you to a place where you can use what you have learned to replace your attitude with one that serves you.