What makes the characters relatable enough for us to become engrossed in a movie or emotionally rooting for them to overcome their “fictional” hardships? Perhaps these hardships represent deeper truths about the human psyche? Perhaps we see ourselves in their folly and there is indeed something we can learn about ourselves. The following characters from some popular Holiday movies display some classic limiting belief and dysfunctional need combinations that we encounter here at Shift with many clients. Let’s combat that Holiday Stress with some good old-fashioned introspection and personal reflection!

Cameron Diaz’s character, Amanda, in The Holiday

Limiting Belief (L.B.) – I am not good enough
Dysfunctional Need (D.N.) – I need to be perfect
Amanda puts a ton of pressure on herself to perform at an exceptional level at work and have all of the nicest material things. After her break up, she felt the need to escape but quickly got cabin fever because of her perfectionistic need to be productive and be busy. She even beats herself up for not having the “perfect” response to her breakup when she can’t cry.

Photo courtesy of IMBD

Catherine O’Hara’s character, Mrs. McCallister, in Home Alone

L.B. – I am responsible for everyone
D.N. – I need to fix everything
Okay, so we recognize that it is not ideal to leave your 8-year-old at home alone, that being said, Mrs. McCallister seems to shoulder the majority of the blame for it, even though she wasn’t the only adult there. This leads to her feel an excessive amount of guilt and anxiety for having left him and feeling overly responsible to be the one who gets home first.

Photo courtesy of IMBD

The Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas

L.B. – I am powerless
D.N. – I need to protect myself
The Grinch was bullied when he was younger which left him feeling powerless. As a way to protect himself to never feel that way again, he chose to isolate himself from the people of Whoville and deny the Christmas spirit! Although that protected him from hurt, it also left him feeling unfulfilled and lonely!

Photo courtesy of IMBD

James Caan’s character, Walter Hobbs, in Elf

L.B. – I am vulnerable
D.N. – I need to be in control
Similar to the Grinch, Walter Hobbs in on the naughty list (*gasp!*) for acting heartless, especially at work. This is a way of remaining in control and feel powerful so as not to feel vulnerable. When Buddy tracks him down, Walter refuses to display any warmth towards Buddy, and even worse, refuses to spread Christmas cheer by not singing loud for all to hear!

Photo courtesy of IMBD

Bill Nighy’s character, Billy Mack, in Love Actually

L.B. – I am a failure
D.N. – I need to be successful and superior
Billy Mack is definitely one of the most awesome characters in Love Actually. However, he spends so much time focusing on becoming successful enough to get invited to the A-list parties, (as a way of proving that he is not a washed up failure) that he forgets what’s important in life: the people you love….even if it is your male manager.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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