How many of you are already concerned about the holiday season family gatherings? Well there could be several reasons, and in this article the focus shall be on how to prepare yourself for being around
those who push our buttons or bring up those old feelings we have tried to avoid. Of course we want to recognize that there are families who share that
warmth and harmony most desire during celebration and get-togethers. Yet many of you might find that dread cropping up about choosing or feeling
obligated to share this time of festivity with those whom are not your favorite crowd, being family or otherwise.
This worrying in advance can bring up all kinds of challenges inside of you. This may manifest in sleep disturbances, lack of concentration on normally
easy or enjoyable tasks, or simply a sigh of having to deal with something mildly unpleasant.
How can you be better prepared and perhaps make the time go
from unbearable to tolerable to even enjoyable? Begin with being right here in the present. When the thoughts pop up, and they may continually do so,
just allow them to be there while you bring yourself back to today. When you realize that nothing stands in the way of how you
choose to live this day or even hour, it can be very empowering. For instance, if you begin thinking, "Oh no, I have to see Aunt so-
and- so or my Mom or Dad that I have been out of touch with and they might do or say this or that or treat me as (fill in the blank)",
just accept that you are for a moment in that thought and bring yourself back to what you are doing and want to be thinking right
now. It is the repeated thoughts that have power over you, rather than the people.
Suppose you are worried about the pressures of being a host or hostess and making the impression you feel is expected of you.
Stop and look at if what you think others expect is really as high as the expectations you put on yourself. If you choose to still
follow through in your specific way of doing things, become aware of it and let yourself be. The last thing you need is to be all over
yourself for feeling you have to make things happen in a certain way. Imagine both things working out as you want and how you want to be within yourself if it goes differently. In other words, practice a sense of peace and calmness either way. Or for those of
you who feel you are entering into obligatory boredom, or a sense of feeling trapped, you might work with keeping a sense of freedom and movement with
you before you get into the situation in actuality. What could that look like in you if it really could come to you as you called? If this idea overwhelms you, it might help to get some counseling
as your inner self might be revisiting some older more deep helplessness or sadness, possibly making itself known to you in feelings of being stuck or even immobilized. There are
endless ways to creatively move through moments of difficulty, but it does take sitting with that and coming up with certain ones that work for you.
Another issue you may run into is the after effects of what may catch you off guard, the let down you have left with in the past. Now is the time to give
yourself a head start on prevention of the post holiday blues and giving up on having to control others. Practice the reminder to keep from being hard on
yourself even if you miss an opportunity to keep someone from getting under
your skin. Also, it is important and useful to put yourself in the situation before it happens in a way that works for you and seems
realistic at the same time. Finally, be very clear on how you want to come through it, and put yourself there, now! Remember the
sweetest things you want to come out of the season and focus on how they can come through as you do.
Wishes of Golden Joy to You!
Carol Jaron, MFT