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A Festivus Perspective: The Power of Words.

I have always loved the concept of the Festivus holiday for its candid catharsis and bizarrely comedic properties. The holiday, as featured on the sitcom Seinfeld, is a fictionalized account of an annual holiday celebrated by the family of one of the show’s writers, which has now evolved into an alternate answer to the commercialism of the holiday season.

During the holiday, as depicted on the episode “The Strike”, George Costanza is forced to relive the torture of previous Festivus celebrations with his father, Frank Costanza, at the helm--undergoing a series of outlandishly brutal and humiliating traditions such as “The Airing of Grievances” and “The Feats of Strength” where guests air their criticisms and complaints of those present at the conclusion of the Festivus dinner--followed by the head of household, in this case, Frank, afterwards selecting a guest and challenging them to a wrestling match, with the holiday not concluding until the head of household is pinned to the floor. As in years past, the chosen challenger ends up being George.

When rewritten under the context of mindfulness and self-awareness, the above celebrations of Festivus offer a metaphor towards the effort required in the elimination of negative thought debris at the close of the year. In getting candid about the facts of life's circumstances and identifying and challenging the nemesis of negative thought patterns, the mental runway can be cleared of obstructive beliefs that hinder successful strategy and action.

Well known author and minister, Joyce Meyer, delivered a sermon (“The Thing I Fear Comes Upon Me”) within her “Life in the Word” series in which she spoke about her battle with negativity. Being raised in an abusive family background, where she experienced emotional and sexual abuse, she spoke about how her mentality was shaped to expect the negative early on, and how she spent a large amount of her adulthood battling the devaluing thought patterns that fermented from those earlier experiences. Over the course of her early ministry, she learned how to call herself out on her negativity, and speak the following phrase over her thoughts: “Something good is going to happen to me.” She continued to repeat it, whenever a negative thought arose—and as a result, she was able to successfully pin down her dominant thoughts of negativity with a positive phrase, and experience the beginning of a reversal of personal fortune.

The holiday season can be difficult to navigate at the close of the year, when juxtaposed against the illusion of perfection within social media--especially while battling negative beliefs and/or circumstances. Anxiety and depression can intensify under the weight of bad news at the close of the year in the form of the unfortunate, such as: unforeseen financial burden, an eviction, an unwelcome medical diagnosis, and job loss. Per scripture, given that the world was created with a word from God—and that humanity was made in the image of God spiritually—the power of a positive phrase in its simplicity can effectively wrestle and combat negative circumstance on our behalf, even when the facts of our experience speak the exact opposite. Along with the tools of transparency, honesty and self-awareness, the right words can alleviate the load of negative life circumstances and allow for the arrival of the help and solutions we need to overcome personal challenges and trials.

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