Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Posted on December 22, 2016

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I suppose one should not take the lyrics of some Christmas songs to literally.  Take “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  Some have observed that Santa’s constant scrutiny is a bit on the creepy stalker side of things.  As a therapist, I note that the first offense against which we are warned is crying.  It would seem that tears alone are enough to put you on the naughty list.

Tears are an integral part of the human experience.  Along with our capacity for love and joy come fear and sadness.  You can’t really suppress one without suppressing the other.  My assertion is that it is worth suffering the latter to have the experience of the former.  This does not put you on the naughty list.

For my female readers, let me offer a brief view into male culture.  In male culture, we are allowed two socially acceptable emotions: 1) I feel good and am therefore “happy”; 2) I feel bad so this must be “anger.”  It is acceptable for men to be angry, but not sad, hurt, afraid, or lonely.  Those feelings are not to be acknowledged even to ourselves, much less others.

In some areas of our lives, having been trained to suppress our emotional experience serves us very well.  This is particularly so for those who face danger for a living (e.g. military, law enforcement, firefighting, etc.).  However, it can become problematic in close relationships.  Anger tends to push your partner away from you, whereas fear or sadness tend to pull your partner toward you.  When faced with an angry partner, the tendency is to defend and protect one’ self.  When face with a hurting partner, the tendency is to provide comfort.  Further, experiencing the full range of emotional experience is a core part of the experience of being human.

If you should find yourself in a season of grieving this holiday season, being sad is an appropriate response.  It does not put you on the naughty list.  I should know, I pay Santa’s credit card bill every January (at least for my household).

Wishing you a blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of the Savior.

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Posted in: Relationships