Call me the Bubble Burster if you will but I know too many people and have experienced for myself some Unhappy Thanksgivings and Christmases that were anything BUT Merry, not because there’s a lack of love in my family, but because MY FAMILY are not The Cleavers.
So regardless of the holiday when it comes to dealing with family, it’s YOU who needs to change.
I’ll talk about mine for a moment because I ain’t scared of ‘em and they, although not always happy with me for it, KNOW I’ll tell the truth about us – or “my” truth amongst us; it’s liberating for me.
My family is made up of individuals, and like yours, we each have different perspectives of our whole family experience . Some of us have traveled dicey paths even to the point of wondering HOW we are of the same gene pool, others are educated professionals, others make a decent living working whatever jobs we can get, some don’t and have never worked – know the welfare system well enough to live almost as well as I do, others you might recognize if I mentioned their names, some know the inside of prisons better than their community…you get my point – we’ve all taken different paths which have led us to living very different lives and different kinds of lifestyles; you name it, we’ve probably got it in our family!
Family Is As Family Does
My beau says that all the time, “Family is as family does.” His way of saying blood does not make one family, consistent loving actions do. Some of us will fare off far better to adopt this philosophy because the pain of dealing with the blood family members cut deep.
You’re the Problem
For those who don’t have the associated pain of past hurts with family, but are just annoyed by family differences, the problem is likely that you keep expecting that things will be different! The angst about going home is happening within you because you’re hopeful that family members will have changed and THAT’S a problem. If you want to have a better experience WITH them then YOU change. Ensuring a happier time than you’ve known for the Holidays will start with you. So the question is: what is the one thing that you can SET in your mind to expect “It Is What It Is;” that inevitable thing that happens every single time you get around family? You know…the belligerent brother, the controlling sister, the parents – drunken father-in-law or passive mother, the out of control niece… you know the labels you’ve attached to each of ‘em! Whatever you’ve BEEN doing AIN’T WORKIN’, SO here are some things to consider as you set a more realistic expectation:
- Decide now, to Live and Let Live because frankly unless they are your children AND under aged, they are NOT YOUR BUSINESS.
- Decide now to ALLOW what is; to respond differently to the things they do that are different than what you do than you have in the past.
- Decide now to allow them to be who they are…the same person they are when you are not around. You know very well that it’s what they do all the time; it’s how they live and how things happen when you are not there. You know that they will just return to “normal” – “their” normal – as soon as you leave. As much as you may want different for them, they have as much a right to live their lives as they choose as you do, so decide that you will NOT be fuquitable; you’ll not allow them to ‘tie your panties in a wad’ because as long as you do, they will fuquit you while they – each of them, will go on with their lives as usual, as soon as you leave.
- Decide now to have a Happy Thanksgiving, in spite of them, with the realization, that you cannot change them, nor their perception of your family experience, moreover, neither should you. You are each entitled to your own perception and interpretations. It’s your family, not your “project”…none of them! Each of them is responsible for themselves, as you are for yourself.
Enjoy the Entertainment
So, how should you handle them? You KNOW you have family members who are drama magnets – from the “victim” to the one needing the “spotlight”! If you’re smart you’ll learn to enjoy the entertainment; their lives are so bizarre that you couldn’t make that stuff up, so learn to watch ‘em like a movie; the stranger the stories, the more fascinating. If you were sitting in a theater watching a movie that kept you on edge, the more captivated you’d be, right? Learn to watch them the same way.
I’m fascinated by Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Lynn Toller (Divorce Court – a favorite!), and my 15 minute daily fix – Maury! I see things on these shows that my responsible decisions just won’t create as realities in my life. Well, I don’t know about YOUR family, but members of mine make decisions that create very similar realities…listen and enjoy in the same manner. You’ll rest better and probably live longer – you’ll, at least, have happier Thanksgivings and Merrier Christmases. And they’ll like you more too!
Power of Choice
Here’s the reality, the holidays won’t make your life with family any more magical so it’s a setup for disappointment to expect that your Thanksgiving with them is supposed to be any ‘happier’ or that your Christmas should be any “merrier”. If it does turn out to be pleasantly different, be pleasantly surprised, but for many a more realistic expectation is that sometimes you’ll find that going home for Thanksgiving is to increase your gratitude for the rest of the year, or for Christmas, to prove your ability to love despite rather than because; reminding you from whence you came and, that daily, you get to choose the life you live. NEXT Decision BETTER! 😉
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