Life coach Teri Johnson, whose personal journey through an imperfect life now inspires others to reach for the lives they’ve always wanted, suggests confronting the endless and unproductive cycle of negativity to find the elusive joy of the holiday season. According to Johnson in her book, Overcoming the Nevers, joy can be found every day of the year, not just during the holidays.
"You never thought you'd get divorced, but you did. You never dreamed you would find yourself in an abusive relationship, but you are. You never thought you would need to lose 200 pounds, but you do. And you never thought you'd be 45 years old without a job, losing your home and drowning in debt, but you are," says Johnson.
"We start to believe lies about ourselves, such as I'm not good enough' or 'I'm undeserving,'" she says. "We escape our pain and these toxic feelings into unhealthy behaviors and addictions. There is freedom from the struggle; there is hope in discovering the truth; there is a way to fall in love with who we are to experience a joy-filled season, and more importantly, a joy-filled life."
Johnson's tools for overcoming the "nevers" that drag many down during the holiday season include:
- Acceptance: Do you have the strength to make the changes necessary to turn a situation around? Or will you remain powerless, remain in the state of non-acceptance and let everything around you dictate how you feel? The journey starts with accepting that you can't change others, but you do have power over your own life.
- Surrender: What we surrender ourselves to ultimately becomes what we turn to or that upon which we rely. The question then is: What are we surrendered to? Is it something firm, solid and long-lasting, or something that hurts us in the end?
- Joyfulness: Hold tight to your unique gifts and talents to enrich your own life and impact the lives of those around you. Build on what you’re good at, what makes you special and what makes you feel good about yourself.
- Discovery: Confronting the truth about who we are deep inside helps us overcome our painful past and discover the basis for those "nevers."
- Faith: Until we accept love for ourselves, the healing will not begin. Embracing love is an ongoing process that starts with learning to like yourself and with a willingness to accept your imperfections.
Johnson advises that the process of confronting internal struggles and the "nevers" of life isn’t easy, but no treatment program, no diet and no New Year's resolution can be successful without breaking down the essence of individual struggles and making the necessary adjustments to attain the life you deserve.
"If the life you are living is full of unacceptable and disappointing things and you don't want to spend another year like this, the only thing holding you back right now is your own confusion, self-doubt and anger," she says. "You don't have to keep doing what you're doing or feeling what you're feeling, but you do need to come to terms with yourself and surrender yourself to faith that there is a better way."