Traditions are specific customs or behaviors you employ that are usually passed down from generation to generation. They hold value, purpose, and meaning. They are powerful within families, and they create and hold together impactful moments.
These moments allow us to stay connected with people who are no longer with us and those who are; allowing that connectedness to endure throughout future generations. Beautifully weaving together, the past, present and future. Traditions are living masterpieces displaying what we value and believe. Intricately created, passed on and adapted, delicately protecting the memories encapsulated within them.
Traditions can help us express and connect to our identity. Through these repeated behaviors we end up telling a story about who we are, where we came from, and where are values lay. This can be very comforting to children and adults alike; it provides a sense of belonging. Opportunities to enhance connection helps to reduce depressive symptoms, anxieties, and promote self-healing. Confidence installation and growth come from knowing who you are and where you came from.
Traditions can also promote healing. Grief, trauma, and loss can leave us emotionally paralyzed, disconnected, and lost. The holidays tend to exacerbate these feelings and make this time of year especially hard for some. One way to alleviate this heaviness is by creating new traditions or bringing back an old one.
Christmas Eve candlelight service is a tradition I do with my family—just as my mom did with me and her mom did with her. The quiet time of reflection coupled with Christmas music sends echoes of memories from childhood through my mind, and thoughts of loved ones who have passed in my heart. For that hour, I feel a closeness and connectedness to my past and present.
If you don’t have family traditions, it’s not too late to create some. Simply start by exploring what the reason behind deploying a new tradition is. Ask yourself:
- Is it to generate connection among family?
- Is it to keep a memory alive of someone you’ve lost?
- Is it to teach or instill a value?
- Is it to connect with your heritage or religious beliefs?
Once you’ve determined the WHY behind it, then you can get creative and individualize your tradition for your family or yourself.
What traditions do you have with your family or for yourself? Tell us in the comments!
If you are looking for more help on finding connection or emotional healing, are struggling with grief or loss, or are needing someone to talk to, book an appointment with Brian or Andi at Wyoming Center for Clinical Excellence.
Andrea Robertson, MSW, PLCSW, has a background understanding the complex needs of veterans and their families, and sub-specialized in military social work. Andrea is well trained in group psychotherapy and has a passion for facilitating connections among people to achieve a greater sense of self, and a greater sense of belonging.