When my friend Jennifer hears the phrase “the holidays,” she cringes in the same way a dog might when hearing the words “we're going to the vet”.
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She thinks of the holidays the same way she views a mammogram. A procedure that takes way too long, never feels good, and must be completed annually.
For most of my life I detested the holidays. Not because it was tough to decide on a present for my father’s third wife’s eldest son, but because I hated listening to the incessant complaints of Great Aunt Eudora. Uncle Fred’s farts were almost as bad, but he usually fell asleep before dinner and napped in the living room.
After I learned self-hypnosis, I allowed my imagination to go places it had never been. During one memorable holiday dinner, I was trying to ignore some family bickering so imagined that I could change the way people looked and sounded. This began my journey of finding new ways to enjoy myself in any situation.
In the beginning it was a challenge. I did my best to practice my mind tricks without laughing out loud and embarrassing myself. The first time Great Aunt Eudora started her annual tirade on trust, I had to force myself to keep sipping water so that no one saw me chuckle.
What’s wonderful about using these mind tricks is that you can challenge yourself to improve each year. Even better, share them with one other person at the event and both of you can double your fun.
PRIOR TO THE PARTY
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First, choose one of the following as your subject matter:
Let’s say for example that you chose VEGETABLES as your subject for the upcoming holiday dinner. Once you get to your destination the fun begins! As soon as you walk in the door you can let your imagination go on a wild rampage.
THE FUN PART
Anytime you are with someone who annoys, angers, or frustrates you in any way, you must turn that person into the most ridiculous vegetable you can imagine at that moment.
When Cousin Celia starts bragging about her last cruise, you might imagine her as a hunk of cauliflower. One of my clients gets a kick out of imagining people looking like soggy cooked cauliflower! Make sure that you add those little googly eyes (the little plastic ones we used in Kindergarten) to the cauliflower so she can see. Place her real mouth on the cauliflower below those silly eyes.
Now that Cousin Cauliflower...um, Cousin Celia...is complete, you can view her in a whole new light. When she speaks, notice how silly her mouth looks. Maybe her voice has changed too. Enjoy the experience as she slowly morphs into that knobby cauliflower.
Once you get good at this (it doesn’t take long), you can enhance your experience of the evening by adding more vegetables in varying stages of fresh or cooked. Your brother might become a flat sugar pea; your grandmother, a soggy warm eggplant. The only limit is your creativity!