I often see things around this time of year called "Holiday Survival Guides." It might also come in the form of survival tips... Either way, holy-days can become unholy quickly when it is about survival.
I AM TIRED of trying to survive holidays. So, I am giving you a thrive tips rather than a survival tips.
Un-role Yourself Often. When I go home, I feel an urge to become the immature little brother again and I hate it. It always leads me to say something at the dinner table to shock everyone. This year, I am going home as a confident, driven, adult man who can be himself. When regression kicks in, I have to remind myself that I am not the baby of the family anymore. When you feel you've been sucked into whatever role is not you, allow yourself to step back, breath and be who you really are. I may be the youngest brother, but that doesn't make me the little brother.
Change the triangles. Triangles are for orchestras, but even orchestra triangles are not really triangles because one corner is missing for the sound to come out right. We often go home and find ourselves in a triangle with two other people--maybe parents, siblings, cousins, friends, restaurant staff, etc. It is not necessary to tip more because someone at your table is rude to the waiter. Also, your parent's problems are your parent's problems. Thrivers let conflict be where it needs to be. "Sounds like that's between you and _______," can be a good way out. Thrivers may also say, "It doesn't feel healthy for me to be in the middle of this, so I need to excuse myself from this conflict." Then you can think "Ding," because you let the triangle vibrate the way it needed to.
Fresh air is your friend. Thrivers make personal space because they know being cooped up with the people they spent at least 18 years getting away from can be suffocating. We live at least 5 hours from our closest set of parents and we do great away from them. If we do not take breaks while we're home, we leave wanting to live even farther away. If we go to a movie or to coffee by ourselves, we re-energize and then are able to enjoy the precious time we have with our family.
A Word on Love. When I say I love my wife, I am saying I want what is best for her. My responsibility as one who loves her is to do what is best for her. If I am not taking care of myself, which is one of the best things I can do for her, am I really loving her? Same with family. We all say we love our families, and then forget to take care of ourselves. What is best for my family is for me to not be grouchy, resentful, distant, and/or in some role I resent. In my love for them, I take care of myself the best I can, even when they don't understand why I must take a walk or eat a meal with just my wife. Then I can thrive, rather than survive.
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