You’ve heard me say before that life is 50/50.
50% good and 50% bad.
There are always going to be ups and downs.
That’s just part of the human experience.
If we didn’t have sadness, we wouldn’t appreciate happiness.
The holidays tend to intensify our emotions.
Especially if we expect the holidays to be 100% happy.
We might sing songs about “the hap-happiest season of all’’, but the reality is, it’s still going to be 50/50, and that’s okay.
Nothing has gone wrong.
The big three holiday stressors are time, money, and relationships.
And yet it seems to catch us off guard each time.
Last week I offered some suggestions regarding time and money.
This week, let's talk about relationships.
Pretty much everyone I know, including myself, has to be around someone during the holidays that they consider difficult, challenging, self centered, judgmental, opinionated, annoying, rude, mean, needy, or manipulative; insert your adjective if I left it out.
Now, we can’t control other people, but we can control OUR thoughts, feelings, actions, and experience.
When you have a belief about someone, your brain will look for evidence to prove that belief true.
You will subconsciously look for challenging, difficult, self centered behavior, and you will find it.
And what we focus on grows.
So when you think someone is difficult, how might YOU behave around them?
You might ignore, judge, withdraw, argue, be defensive, or shut down.
In essence, you become difficult.
You might say, but I’m right, they are difficult, and everyone agrees with me.
You absolutely could be right, but it doesn’t matter.
That thought is affecting YOUR experience.
You can be right or you can be happyish.
Your thoughts will not change THEM; they will change YOU.
It’s like drinking poison to teach someone else a lesson.
Getting offended by someone else’s behavior wastes so much of our mental and physical energy.
You can decide this year that being offended is a no for you and let that offense bounce right off.
It’s the most freeing feeling in the world.
If every year, so and so says or does the thing that hurts or drives you crazy, why are you surprised each time?
Instead of being affected by THEIR behavior, focus on YOURS.
First of all, expect it. They do it every year, right?
Second of all, decide ahead of time how you will choose to think and feel about it.
Those thoughts and feelings will determine what you do.
Can you exchange judgment, offense, and resentment for curiosity, compassion, and love?
Maybe even humor or fascination (two of my favorites).
For YOUR sake?
If you can, I promise you will receive the gift of freedom, joy, and peace.
It’s really not an even exchange.
You receive so much more.
So, this year, instead of focusing on who you want others to be, focus on who YOU want to be.
That is where all your power is.
And it is truly powerful.
It can mean the difference between tolerating the experience or enjoying the experience.
It’s up to you.