Dreading the holidays? Here’s a little help

by | Nov 27, 2013 | Self Confidence | 0 comments

If Thanksgiving or other upcoming gatherings of family and friends fill you with even the smallest bit of dread, I offer this little tool to help ease it.

What are you dreading? Or should I ask, “who?”Awkward dinner

There are so many different types of difficult relationships, and I can only imagine the ones that fill you with trepidation. But whatever they are, I want to help you get through Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve or the winter solstice in one piece – and in peace.

Why dread? Why???

If you want to learn a little about where dread comes from, read the rest of this little section. Otherwise, skip down to What To Do.

People who push us out of our comfort zones have the same effect on our brains as hostile tribes did when we were surviving on the savannahs of Africa: fear and resistance. In other words, dread.

In those days, we might have responded by fighting, running away or casting curses. Modern holiday gatherings, however, require us to treat people tactfully, avoid them, or suppress our instincts however we can, e.g. with willpower, alcohol or mashed potatoes.

What To Do

This would have worked on the savannah, too. Look for things you and the other person have in common, or that you admire or appreciate about them. This might take some work, but it will have the same effect on your brain as two tribes realizing they worked better as allies than as enemies. It will calm you down and suggest ways you can collaborate, at least long enough to survive the holiday.

Ideally, look for at least three things you like, admire or appreciate. By the third one, your perspective will begin to shift, you might really begin to see the other person more positively and you should even begin to feel a little better — kinder, gentler — inside.

You might both care about the rain forest, gardening, hiking or football. She might have done something unique, brave, funny, spiritual or creative. He might have a capacity for leadership, humor or prudence that you don’t share but might be able to learn from.

If you really struggle to see something positive, seek ideas from a friend or family member who gets along better with that person than you do.

Try, Love, Repeat

This should work, at least a little bit. Give it a try, see how it goes, and build on any successes you have.

If you have difficult family relationships, you’ve probably tried lots of tools and tactics to get you through the holidays in one piece. I hope this adds a useful tool to your toolkit, and would love to hear if and how it works for you.

Wishing you happy, healthy and strong holidays!

sea1

Do you need kind, compassionate support to bounce back from a negative experience? If so, then get in touch with me now, and let’s make the most of your precious time, energy and love. 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kristen Carter

Kristen Carter, Certified coach, author, and breast cancer survivor. More

How to do Limbo

How to do Limbo

  One of my best friends from high school is alone at home recuperating from Covid. His wife, who has severe MS, is in a recovery center trying to get better with thinly-stretched medical care. (They were both vaccinated.) Another friend’s son is waiting to see...

Emerge Sparkly – My Plan to Help You Live Joyful and Inspired

Emerge Sparkly – My Plan to Help You Live Joyful and Inspired

Oh my gosh, I’ve been having the most blissful time cocooning. Actually, it’s been like being wrapped in a cozy blanket inside a bubble inside a cocoon. And like a little larva, I’ve been evolving inside it. I’ve been thinking deep thoughts. I’ve written thousands of...

September 12: A Day to Be the Change

September 12: A Day to Be the Change

September 12, 2001 Inexplicably, the sun came up again this morning, as if nothing had happened. As if the world—or America, at least—hadn’t been changed forever yesterday. As if thousands of innocent people hadn’t been killed for reasons I cannot comprehend, by…who?...

How Hope Helps Us Heal

How Hope Helps Us Heal

Two years ago this month, my breast cancer was advancing again. It was back in my liver and spreading through my bones. I was on my third or fourth line of estrogen-focused chemo, but it seemed clear that they were no longer working. My (former) oncologist still...

Embracing your precious, long-hidden parts

Embracing your precious, long-hidden parts

When we are born, we come into the world fully loaded with spirit, personality, and potential. We have the wiring to become so many wonderful things. If we are lucky, we are welcomed at every stage of our lives for that original wiring—our families, friends, teachers,...

Bounce back from a negative experience with renewed confidence, hope, and courage.

Explore what kind, compassionate support can feel like with a no-obligation conversation with me by phone or by Zoom.