This year I wanted to try something new with my family. I bought a gingerbread house and during the week with my daughter and son we all started to be creative and put together this piece of work. Well the icing was a bit too soft (we did not realise at the time) and the house would not stick together and fell apart. That is ok so we started again and gave it more time and then decorated it. Perfect, well we thought so until we tried to move the structure to the refrigerator and it all fell apart…again.
Well after a bit of disappointment the perfectionist in me showed up and I thought that really when we were looking at the box and the craft why didn’t ours turn out as well? Shouldn’t this have been a fun exercise. Then I pondered how could I do this differently. In my work I incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and reflected about how I could look at this situation from that perspective using the six core therapeutic processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Harris, 2009).
- Values (know what matters): fun and being creative.
- Committed Action (Do what it takes): to build a gingerbread house.
- Acceptance (Open up): I accepted that we were not able to build a long lasting gingerbread house but gave it a go.
- Defusion (Watch Your Thinking): Why couldn’t the gingerbread house be perfect?
- Self as context (Pure awareness): This is frustrating that this craft activity is not going the way I thought it was going to.
- Contact with the present moment (Be Here Now): I really am enjoying spending quality time with my children.
So after reflection, next year we will be making gingerbread people.
At Christmas time, try and remember that we may have ideas about what we think it might look like (like the gingerbread house and the pretty picture) but to truly make the most of Christmas be present, and a bit of humour never hurts.
Flora White is a registered Psychologist practising at Manly Village Medical. If you would like to make an appointment to see Flora, please contact reception on 3396-2141 for available times. You can see Flora by GP referral on a Mental Health Care Plan, or privately with on the spot claiming available through your Health Fund. Click here for more information about our Psychology Services.
• Harris, R. (2009). ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.