Don't say "yes" when you want to say "no" to parties or people you don't want to be with.
The holiday season is now upon us. Do you greet it with trepidation? Festivities bring us together with family. You may be dreading that experience because you have to act as if everything is peachy when it isn't because you're really having an awful time, and can't wait to find an excuse to leave. In psychology, we call that pseudo-mutuality. Pseudo means false. In other words, the smile on your face is hiding your true feelings of unhappiness, anger, or boredom.
Most likely you just grin and bear it year after year. Maybe you're telling yourself that you have to show up or your family will be upset, or you hate being around people who do nothing but complain or get drunk. Perhaps you're tired of making small talk. Is there anything you can do to change these rituals? Probably not, but you can change your own actions and attitudes. You'll find more advice about how to handle family relationships in my eBook, Grownup Love: Getting It and Keeping It.
Jane and Tom, a married couple, hated the holiday fuss and having to be with people they wouldn't choose to befriend if they weren't relatives, so they used a technique called EFT tapping to deal with their situation. EFT is simply a process of gently touching or tapping on a few acupressure points on your face and upper body. You can learn it in minutes and use it to eliminate fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, cravings, traumatic memories, and more. Find out how to treat yourself with ease in my book, Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing.
Begin by focusing on a negative emotion, thought, memory, or situation as you gently tap along the outer edge of the hand below the little finger. We call that the Karate Chop Spot. Next, using the index and middle fingers, tap or press each of these points for 3 seconds as you continue to concentrate on what is bothering you:
- The hair of the eyebrow where it begins nearest the nose
- The outside edge of the eye socket
- Under the lower lid of the eye
- Under the nose
- Under the lower lip
- Under the collarbone
- On the side of your body 4 inches under the armpit
Tom and Jane began by focusing on their dilemma by stating: "We don't want to be with these people and don't know how to get out of going to the party without causing them to resent us." They stayed in touch with the feeling of being trapped as they stimulated the acupressure points. After the first round of tapping they talked more about their dislike for many of the people they would be forcing themselves to be nice to.
Then they used EFT for two more tapping rounds while they continued to pay attention to the feeling of being stuck with this unpleasant and boring holiday ritual. When they finished tapping they shared feelings, thoughts or memories that came to mind about this issue. Jane recalled how scared she was as a child when her uncles used to get so drunk that they got into fistfights. Tom realized that he was no longer a small child who had to obey mom's expectations. He was 34 years old and was entitled to do what he wanted with his holidays!
Jane and Tom tapped a few more rounds still feeling unsure of the solution to their holiday predicament. After a short time it dawned on them that the best way to deal with pseudo-mutuality was to leave town! They made reservations at a resort and let everyone know that they were not going to be at the holiday party. Instead of feeling guilty about not living up to the family's expectations, they felt joy and a wonderful sense of freedom.
Jennifer had an unexpected surprise when she arrived at a friend's Christmas party only to find that her ex-husband and his new girlfriend were also guests! She had no new romantic interest in her life at the time, and seeing these lovebirds bothered her so much that she wanted to run out the door in tears. Instead, she went into the rest room and gave herself an EFT tapping treatment to come to terms with her misery.
Jennifer tapped about her surprise and resentment at seeing her ex-husband looking so happy while she was so lonely. Her fear of never finding love again surfaced as she continued to stimulate her acupressure points. In a short time, her self-pity dissolved as Jennifer realized that she was a sensitive, intelligent person who deserved to be loved and cherished by a wonderful man who wanted to spend his life with her. Jennifer's attitude went from hopeless to positive. Afterward, she felt calm and was able to have a good time socializing with the other guests.
You too can make use of EFT tapping during the holiday season before any event that you feel anxious about. Other common worries during the holidays include: dread of drinking too much, spending too much, overeating, and gaining weight. Some people fear being excluded from festive gatherings or being dateless on New Year's Eve.
Practice EFT tapping a few times a day starting a week before any troubling event to make sure that you are ready to have a great time and not wake up with a feeling of disappointment, an upset stomach, or a hangover.
Remember that EFT can help you get through any additional social challenges where you might experience pseudo-mutuality throughout the rest of the year too. These include other holiday feasts, weddings, barbecues, birthdays, and business events.
Discuss your holiday woes in a free phone consult with Gloria.
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