I think the reason people get depressed around the holidays is because the contrast is widened between the feel-good emotions and the not-so-good emotions. In other words, it brings up a lot of childhood crap. Are you feeling some anxiety? I noticed that I was feeling anxious when I was about to leave to pick up my father-in-law and my brother-in-law to go to my mom’s in Illinois for Thanksgiving. So along with the holiday cheer comes the possibility of family conflict. Along with all of the yummy food and drink comes food guilt and the mood swings that can accompany a sugar and carb indulgence.
It can be a drastic contrast. I have some REALLY good friends and my husband and kids who love and support me on my journey to being a successful entrepreneur and business owner. They “get” me and who I’m all about. They understand my WHY. Then I have the contrast of my dad, father-in-law and brother-in-law, who repeatedly provide me with opportunities to practice the art of relationship. So I’m going to apply the Redirecting Negative Behavior techniques that Judy Ryan taught me and my family in her recent workshop. Yes, I have learned to keep quiet around them, rather than create waves.
Just let them be who they are, right? Why argue with them? They aren’t worth getting upset over.
This is how I have felt, and my ego still feels that way about them. Why engage with someone who simply wants to be negative and critical? Do I really want to have a relationship with these guys? Not really. I have too many other friends and healthy relationships. I don’t feel like I need them. But THAT isn’t the point. The point is that they are meant to teach me about myself. The point is that I need to forgive them. So how do I feel about them when I get triggered?
I feel annoyed, angry and insulted. This means that they are wanting me to notice them, fight with them, and invalidate them. It also means that in response to this, rather than thinking you’re annoying, pushy and arrogant, I can redirect my thoughts by thinking, “You matter very much and I care, you also have a valid viewpoint, and you are always enough!”
Well, I just returned from my Thanksgiving at mom’s. I’d say it turned out well. Right after we picked up my brother-in-law, Bob, I had an honest discussion with him about a misunderstanding he had. When I was speaking, he said, “Where’s the mute button?” Instead of getting upset at this comment, I laughed and said we were going to look hilarious today, like we were playing a video game, because BOTH of us would be looking for each other’s mute buttons (visualize our thumbs moving up and down on a video game’s controller).
I also reached out to my father-in-law on a couple of occasions. I invited him to go feed the horses with me and Steve, and he truly seemed to enjoy that. I complimented him on his beautiful head of thick hair, especially considering he’s almost 90 years old. It was a beautiful day weather wise! Overall, I’m pleased with the day. My mom provided a beautiful spread of food, holiday music, and good cheer. I don’t think I overindulged with food either. My relationships with the difficult people in my life are a work in progress.
Will they ever be perfect? No, because I never will be, at least on the human plane. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope you are ushering in the holidays with the right mindset and that you take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to feel joyful all of the time. You don’t have to eat perfectly. Just be yourself without apology.
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