Like Ram Dass says: You want to see how together you are, go spend some time with your family! This sentiment is particularly apt during the holidays, when emotions run high and painful memories are easily triggered. Especially if this holiday things are different than you would like them to be: i.e. you’re single (again), newly divorced, bringing someone home your family can’t stand, or maybe you simply dread the same old story your family dynamics dose on when you get together.
Here are a few tips that can help you face whatever may come with more confidence and grace than you'd imagined…
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* Embrace "what is"~ This is the quick way to holiday enlightenment! The sooner you accept people and things the way they are and not the way you want them to be, the more likely you are to experience some real joy! While this is no easy pill to swallow when you are feeling lonely, rejected, or not up for going a few rounds with your family, this truth will set you free. Try it; it’s the perfect gift to give this season.
* Right-size your expectations~ If you're aren't quite ready to accept things the way they are, your next best bet is to curtail your expectations some. Try this (always works for me). Find someone less fortunate than yourself and do something wonderful for them. It’s a sure way to get an additional perspective. Sometimes we can get so righteous or stuck in our story we don't leave any room for something different or magical to happen. The spirit of giving will soften your grinchy glare and open your heart up. ‘Tis the season to cut some slack. Plenty of time for therapy and analyzing everything and everyone come the new year!
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* Walk a mile in their shoes~ Refuse to participate in certain members of your family's antics, or can’t possibly stomach your ex flaunting his “new and improved you” all over tinsel town when you're still obscenely alone? Try a shot of compassion. While this is not easy, especially for novices (‘cause you have to actually care enough to take a moment and walk a mile in their shoes), in most cases it helps us take the edge off. Understanding that being human is complicated, and that we are all frightened and fragile whether we show it or not, helps ease the burden of needing everyone (including ourselves) to be perfect.
* Stage fright~ Are you the type that thinks of the right thing to say or do after the fact? Like, you think of what you should have said, but freeze up and blank out and end up a mess? Then you need to rehearse your lines! Doesn't matter who you are, when we are upset we don't think clearly. No matter what awaits you, try and do a dress rehearsal so you can be prepared for anything. Write it down and carry it with you so you don't get blindsided. And practice all the way there, and maybe even the day before if you have to. “No, Uncle Bart, I am not drinking right now. Thank you.” or “That's lovely; I wish you both every happiness!” or “Congratulations on your new part in the upcoming porn film, I am sure you'll be a great success.”