Holidays! Our time to spend quality, special, cherishable moments with family. It is the time of year when we are able to spend our hard-earned money on the ones we love, with gratitude no less. We shop in crowded malls with joyful Christmas music chiming in the background, reminding us of how very giddy we should be. Commercials show hugs and love, bonding and warmth – complete and utter joy.
SO, imagine the guilt we feel when what we’re "supposed" to be experiencing is not our reality. We must remember that the struggles we go through are normal – actually, they are necessary. If we did not struggle to work our way through life’s lessons and experiences, we would learn little, if nothing. Let’s just face it, it’s hard to be grateful when we are spinning in the midst of constant chaos and categorically annoying people. But, here are some steps to help keep our mind, body, and spirit in the right place:
1. BREATHE –
Inevitably, there will be family members, shoppers, drivers, you name it, who will drive you crazy and seemingly seep into and under your skin. The trick is to realize that you are irritated and, before huffing and puffing or even verbalizing your disapproval, take a BIG, DEEP, CLEANSING breath. Breathe in positive energy through your nose and release the negative out your mouth. If it helps to visualize, imagine that the air you are taking in is either sparkling pink or gold. When you exhale, take all tension and negative energy and release it. I usually need to do this three times before I return to a sense of calm.
2. ACCEPT –
The only person we can change is ourselves. It’s SO hard not to point fingers at "the other guy," but if we are able to realize that they are who they are, and we love them despite (or even including) their flaws, there is a release. It requires more energy to build up resentment than it does just to let it go!
3. COMMUNICATE –
When you have a problem or if someone has over-stepped a boundary,speak to that person directly.When we are upset, we often do one of two things. We either talk to everyone else around us about the situation, often in an accusatory, "take my side" manner, or we hold a grudge and stuff it deep down. Either approach is unhealthy to our mind, body and soul.
When we continue to elaborate to numerous audiences, we are only exacerbating the issue; we are spreading the negative, if you will. Talking to everyone else about your baggage is an immediate release, but it hurts the person you are upset with and ultimately hurts you.
On the contrary, when we stuff our emotions, they either resurface as explosive anger or sickness. We literally can make ourselves ill when we keep things inside. Therfore, talking deliberately and directly about what is upsetting is the most beneficial overall.
4. SEE THE LESSON –
A huge lesson I have learned – and am still in the process of learning (I don’t think it will ever end) – is that, typically, whatever irritates me about someone else is a mirror image of what I do not want to see in myself. If you’re ready, really wrap your head around that one! This is not always the case, as there are some individuals who are truly irritants, but be aware. If someone gives you a dirty look, do you do the same thing without even realizing it?
5. FORGIVE –
The sooner we are able to forgive, the better. Sometimes, especially when your "talk" didn’t go as planned, the best means of forgiving someone is through writing. If you are in a bad place with someone who is unwilling to listen or they put an accusatory spin on what you are gently trying to explain (and these are the most painful), write them a letter. Take the paper with your heartfelt words and burn it. In other words, send your pain to the one place/being that can resolve it on your behalf, which brings us to step 6…
6. LET IT GO –
Our ego can tell us we are in charge, but until we learn that that is NOT the case, we will live in a world of emotional and spiritual pain and anguish. Life is a series of lessons and tests designed to realize that we are all in this together and that It’s so much easier to hand it over than try to control our surroundings. We cannot do it all! And, we certainly are not perfect. Imagine that the person you are butting heads with is sitting on a white, fluffy cloud. Imagine them floating off, away from you, right into the hands of God, the Divine, whatever you name that strength outside of yourself. If you don’t believe in God, that’s cool – just imagine them floating away with love.
For the record, the only way I have learned and am learning these lessons is because I am going through them. They are unbearable sometimes, but once the fog clears and I’m able to see the sunshine again, I feel empowered. I hope and wish the same for all of you.
Happy Thanksgiving!! Love you all, and if I see you in the mall, I promise to give you a hug – once I’m done breathing. 😉