So, the holidays are here again.
People are gathering together in spirit and in plenty for the next few weeks and it’s lovely. It’s also a time of excess for most. Excess spending, excess food, excess emotions, and excess alcohol consumption (generally to deal with said emotions).
Tis’ the season of overdoing it, or something.
So, while we’re all filled with the holiday spirit(s) these next few weeks, we spend a lot of time with people. People we love, people we like, people we’ve never met, people we never wanted to meet, people we can tolerate in small quantities, and well, people that we spend the other 364 days of the year avoiding.
what who I mean?
Button pushers. Irritating people. People that send you running for the Belvedere before you can say “Bob’s your uncle” (because, um, actually, he is).
These are the people that you just downright wouldn’t choose to spend time with, like ever, and for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have a lot of negative energy. Maybe they go out of their way to be difficult and offensive. They badger you with questions, make passive-aggressive remarks, put you down using lots of “jokes,” and purposely make statements in your presence that they anticipate to which you will respond.
Ya feel me?
Here’s the thing, no matter what flavor of shut-the-fuckupcakes you’d like to serve them, or where you’d like to place the mistletoe for them to kiss your ass under, remember that they are actively seeking engagement with you. They want your attention. It is intentional. Purposeful. And it stems from a basic human need for connection.
In other words (not mine),
“Every action is an expression of, or a cry for, love.”
The reason Uncle Frank is so annoying probably has something to do with his self esteem and he’s learned to manage it through negative attention seeking behaviors that feed his ego.
Aunt Susan makes condescending remarks about your “hippy-dippy cosmic lifestyle” and lack of “real” job because of her own insecurities.
Your cousin from Back East whose dark commentary streams from the chair in the corner all evening? He feels like he doesn’t belong.
Your sister who performs the whole night, interrupts conversations and tells loud stories and jokes using all of her appendages, ensuring she is constantly the center of attention? She wants to know you love and accept her.
Your mother, who drives you bat shit crazy, does so because of her own guilt, perception and needs, not yours. Granted, it may feel a bit less like a Hallmark commercial and more like a Steinbeck re-enactment, but at least she’s trying.
Love prompts us do some stupid ass shit.
Yes, even you.
Newsflash, you fit into one of the previously mentioned categories for someone else. You might be the irritating one. The loud one. The attention seeker. The avoider. The overachiever.
Just like you don’t like everyone, um, not everybody likes you either. And, to add salt to the wound, the things that bother you most about someone else, are probably things you see in yourself.
Let’s add a serving of humble pie to scarf down before and after Nana’s famous pumpkin pastry, shall we?
So how about this- how about we choose not to bring a few things to the table with us this year?
How about this year we don’t invite:
- Fixed mindsets
- Lists, timelines, deadlines, and itineraries
Instead, let’s show up with:
- Mindfulness of the current reality- however and with whomever it shows up
- Positive perceptions and intentions
- A willingness to see and serve
- An attitude of gratitude
- A growth mindset
- A open heart, schedule, and presence
Want to create a different experience this year? Try looking for something else. Chances are, if you look for love, you’ll find love. If you look for softness, you’ll find a feather. If you seek peace and serenity, zen will find its way to you.
If you let go of your expectations of how things “should” be, what you wanted to happen, what you always do, and simply CTFD and let it be as it actually is, you just might find yourself smiling at the dinner table. Like for real, and not just because your brother just opened the third bottle of zin.
Try it, see how it works. The worst thing that can happen is you’re just as miserable as you always are, and hey, at least you know how to cope with that (I hope).
Speaking of coping, for the really difficult people in your lives, like the ones that drain your energy to the point of exhaustion, here’s some related reading to help you out (possibly literally, as in, out the door to a place that’s healthier for you).
Good luck to you all, self included.
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