That Damn Hallmark Channel


It’s all my brother’s fault!

We spent Christmas at his place at the beach a couple of years ago, and all he wanted to watch was the Hallmark Channel.  At the end of every movie, we’d both be wiping our eyes and saying to each other, “I’m not crying!!”.

I guess we’re just a couple of old romantics at heart.  And now, I’m still in the habit of tuning into the Hallmark Channel a few times as week.

The plot of each Hallmark movie is roughly the same – boy meets girl (or boy reconnects with girl), they are forced to spend time together, they begin to fall in love, some obstacle comes between then, and, in the end, they wind up together.

Happily ever after.

There’s a reason the movies end while they’re still falling for each other.  IT’S NOT REAL LIFE!

Talk about Hollywood Hype setting up unrealistic expectations!

Let me see if I understand this.  Two people meet and are attracted to one another.  OK – I understand that.  It has happened to me more than once in my lifetime.

These two people seem to fall in love quickly.  OK – I get that.

Some unforeseen obstacle arises.  Well, unforeseen except for just about every viewer who saw it coming from the opening credits.  OK – I get that too.

And then, bam!  Everything works out.  All is well.  They live in peace and harmony for the rest of their days.

And, that’s where they lose me.

Because life just doesn’t happen that way.  Life is messy.  People are messy.  We don’t have perfect hair and teeth.  We don’t have Santa Claus conspiring with the local townspeople to help our love lives along.

Happily Ever After doesn’t exist.  Now, I truly believe that Almost Happily Ever After exists, and I know some couples that are sterling examples of it.  But they’re not characters in a Hallmark Channel movie.

Real people have to deal with real life issues and stressors.  Real people have to learn how to communicate with one another, and we have to stay committed each and every day no matter how challenging it is.

Relationships aren’t tested by only one obstacle.  Obstacles can pop up daily.  Some obstacles are so huge that a couple who overcomes them amazes the rest of us.

If we add Narcopaths and other people with personality disorders into this mix, these Hallmark movies can be dangerous!  They lead us to believe it’s desireable to “fall in love” fast and make life decisions quickly – even before we take the time to get to know one another.

When it doesn’t work out, a broken heart can be the least of your worries.  When you’re involved with someone with an extreme personality disorder, it can be downright dangerous!  And you don’t know about the extreme personality disorder until it’s too late if you rush into permanent arrangements such as living together and/or marriage.  (Trust me on this one!  Got the t-shirt!)

Getting hooked so quickly is easy to do during the holidays, and inundating our senses with these feel good movies can lead us into situations that have far reaching consequences.

The holidays lend themselves to love-bombing and falling way too fast.  It’s easy to get caught up in the romantic mood of Christmas.  And if the love bombing and merriment in the air aren’t enough, statistically December is the month your ex is likely to attempt to stroll back into your life.

So how do you take care of yourself during the holidays?  The usual things – don’t overindulge (in anything), set good boundaries and stick to them, carve out some time for yourself, enlist a friend or two to stick by you, and, above all else, spend time with people who make you feel good.

Spend your time with the uplifters!  Take care of each other – we’re all we’ve got!  Analyze the people you spend your time with – if they don’t enhance your life, ditch them.  Even if they’re family.

Well, especially if they’re family!

Find out what your balance is between being social and downtime.  Plan accordingly.  I love being out with my friends, and I love being home alone just as much.  Whatever the percentage is that you feel most comfortable with, set that up.  I’m already planning a quiet Christmas Eve with a dear friend – we’re going to drink wine, eat pasta and have a gabfest.

I love the Hallmark Channel this time of year.  These sappy little movies are not necesarily about love.  I believe they’re about hope – the hope that there is indeed long-lasting, fulfilling love.

Just be mindful – one or two Hallmark Channel movies are ok this time of year.  Just don’t drown yourself in them!



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