The Subtle Message About Anxiety We Needed To Hear In Hallmark's New Movie My Southern Family Christmas

Hallmark's new movie "My Southern Family Christmas" stars "Grey's Anatomy" regular Jaicy Elliot as Campbell, a journalist reporting on an issue close to home — her estranged father's family and community. Campbell gets sent on assignment to cover the southern town of Sorrento's tradition of electing a Pere Noel, or Father Christmas, to light the Christmas lights along the bayou, per Hallmark

Campbell's father is set to star in the Cajun holiday tradition, alongside his new wife and two daughters. And, while Campbell isn't sure she wants to have a relationship with her dad or reveal who she really is to him, the intrepid reporter enjoys getting to know his loving family. Her secret half-sisters, Amelia and Mary Margaret, are both considering their artistic passions; Amelia loves to write and Mary Margaret enjoys taking photos. 

While the sisters get ready for the holidays together, Campbell shares an important life lesson she's learned about overcoming anxiety and imposter syndrome in order to pursue your dreams, making the Hallmark holiday movie a must-watch this Christmas, particularly for young people struggling with self-doubt. 

Mary Margaret lacked confidence in her abilities

In a sweet scene from "My Southern Family Christmas," Jaicy Elliot's protagonist, Campbell, chats with her secret half-sister Mary Margaret, who has a passion for photography but doesn't have a high-quality camera. Campbell compliments her natural ability, telling Mary Margaret: "You've got a great eye." However, Mary Margaret casually responds, "It's whatever," though she clearly loves taking photos. When Mary Margaret doesn't believe that she has the talent to succeed as a photographer, Campbell tells her, "Even when you do it for real, you wonder if you're any good." 

Campbell seems to be referencing imposter syndrome, which can mean that others see your talents and abilities differently than you view them, according to Healthline. Plenty of others may see the person suffering from imposter syndrome as deserving of success, while a nagging voice in their own head tells them they aren't good enough. Per Psychology Today, seeking perfection or putting undue pressure on yourself are common causes of the phenomenon. 

However, Healthline clarifies that doubting yourself or not believing others' praise can be counteracted by sharing your feelings with others, just like Mary Margaret does. Further, when Campbell is able to empathize with her experience, it becomes clear that Mary Margaret isn't alone. Validating each other's anxiety, as well as their abilities, becomes an important part of the sisters' sweet interaction. 

Imposter syndrome is a common cause of anxiety

In "A Southern Family Christmas," Campbell provides Mary Margaret with an example of a time when she had less confidence in her own abilities. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to take this assignment and come here to Sorrento," she admits. "I was nervous." Her secret younger sister is surprised to discover that the seemingly self-assured journalist was ever scared to take on an assignment. But Campbell reassures Mary Margaret that feeling nervous about the potential for failure isn't unusual.

Campbell then lets her in on a secret that many folks learn when they pursue their passions professionally. As Campbell explains, "Being scared and anxious doesn't just go away because you get older." This is backed up by research cited in Psychology Today, which found that up to 70% of adults may experience imposter syndrome, also known as imposterism, in their lifetime. However, Campbell argues that a mindset change might help Mary Margaret pursue her passion for photography.

She shares, "You learn to not let those feelings stop you and go after it anyway." Likewise, "Sometimes the stuff that really scares you the most ends up being the best thing that ever happened." Though her half-sisters tease Campbell, seeing their fears mirrored in someone they perceive as competent and talented is personally validating. And, according to Healthline, exchanging strategies for overcoming self-doubt and fear of failure could improve anxiety in the long run.

"My Southern Family Christmas" premiered November 24 on Hallmark