i hope you are ready to have the most incredible holiday week. i have some tips for dealing with family that are going to change your life.
but first… as you know, i love love love the concept of thanksgiving. i truly believe that gratitude and happiness are one in the same. one can not exist without the other. when others are overwhelmed, I often have them think of everything they are grateful for and how each thing makes them feel. Every area of gratitude is accompanied by a plethora of positive feelings and others report feeling happy, supported, loved, thrilled, excited, calm, peaceful, etc when they think of each thing that they can be thankful for. i strongly suggest increasing your gratitude. you will feel better instantly.
however, this blog is not about gratitude or thankfulness. this blog is about family. jordan bach (of the bachbook.com) tweeted a couple thanksgivings ago, “i think i am enlightened, until my family comes to town.” i laughed and retweeted because i so related. it seems that it does not matter how much growth or progress an individual makes, going home for the holidays often causes the most high-functioning people to revert back to how frustrated at their mom they were (or some other negative feeling toward some other family member) at some point during their childhood or teenage years.
when this happens, you have some options. you can:
1. sit at the kids table
2. take a walk with whichever cousins you like most
3. step into another room and breathe/punch pillows
4. have another drink
5. eat an entire pie
and while some of these options are perfectly respectable, I have a suggestion. You may want to listen to what this situation and your feelings about it are telling you.
i know that when i’ve felt hurt, upset, or overly sensitive on a holiday, it’s happened so fast that i’m acting like a teenager before i know it. later, i feel so dumb that i acted so immaturely. it can make one wonder what the eff is wrong with them.
and, actually, nothing is wrong with you. everyone experiences strong feelings when something presses on an emotional bruise from the past. it sucks when your parents fight, your older brother belittles you, or your crazy aunt makes fun of you. it sucks at any age. and it’s super normal to experience emotions related to family that you forgot were there.
and honestly, it’s not a bad thing.
these feelings are just an indicator of what you have to work on.
your crap comes up so you can heal it.
you’ve probably moved on and become an awesome adult and maybe have even done some really great work needed to heal various stuff that hurt you in the past. if you are like me and have been oriented to forgive and move on for awhile, you probably really have healed some stuff and done some really good work. however, there is often more healing left to do.
my theory is that moving on occurs in cycles. when you are at a place in life where you have the ability to look at the past from a different perspective and let go of more of your hurt, things may come up. when you have the space in your life to deal with things you’ve really never dealt with, things may come up. maybe you’ve been hurting in ways that you haven’t quite realized and it comes up when you see or are reminded of the people that offended you. so often, even if someone has healed with the capability they had five years ago, there may be more work to do later. sometimes things we work through (family drama, traumatic experience, abusive relationship, etc) may require attention every so often throughout time.
no matter what the circumstance, if it’s coming up now, that is not an accident. that is a little cosmic nudge that you have something to heal. and that is a beautiful opportunity.
so don’t be hard on yourself when you want to punch your uncle joe in the face and leave before dessert is served this thanksgiving. and don’t disregard it all as just having a crazy family. your family probably is crazy. everyone’s is. but, look at what the situation is telling you and use it to better yourself.
in my personal experience, the more you heal your shit the better the holidays get. even to the point that you can’t wait to go home and that you don’t want to leave after the holidays are over. trust me — there is hope. :)
i love you.
ps: i picked out some pretty pictures for you below
pics of the week: