Holidays: Being With Bad Family

Hi there! The title is a bit harsh – okay it’s very harsh – but I wanted to get the point across in a short space. Like a blog post title. Nobody is bad, of course. They are just who they are choosing to be. And most of that choosing is unconscious, of course, but it’s still a choice just the same. It’s not good or bad, though. Nobody is guilty. They are free to be just like you and me. Nice rhyme… I choose if I hang out with them, though. Except during the holidays! All good – just look at it as an awesome opportunity to see how you are doing with the idea that I’m responsible for how I feel and not anybody else. Take a deep breath and let that sink in for a moment. I’m responsible for how I feel. And not anybody else. Not. Anybody. Else. Does that feel good? Does that feel powerful? It’s certainly not how most of us were raised. So that’s what we’re going to test out in the coming week or two.

I’ve been hearing this sort of thing from friends and clients recently: “How can I spend this many days with my crazy dad or sister?” Or some variation. Here’s an idea to try. I think I’ve mentioned this before, and if not I will again in its own post. Because it’s so important. It’s called bookending your days. The idea is that I start each day with a clean slate. I’m not carrying BS from the day before, or the day before that, or ten years ago, etc. I’m consciously telling myself that I am clean and free and it’s a new day and I’m going to have as much fun as I can and I’m going to do my best. Period! And then before we go to bed, we consciously end our day. We quickly look over it and say something like, “That was my best (whether I think it was good or bad – it was my best at the time), and now it’s done. I let it go. I release it for now and I’ll start over tomorrow.” And then you allow yourself to just sleep a good night’s sleep. And then you wake up and start anew. “I am clean and free and it’s a new day and I’m going to have as much fun as I can and I’m going to do my best. Period!” Wash, rinse, repeat.

We carry so much stuff from our days into our night’s sleep and then we wake up with it. And this goes on for lifetimes! Let’s try this simple act of bookending our days and see what happens. Your Inner GPS, Inner Wisdom, knows what to tell yourself. It’s not the words that matter, anyway, but rather the idea behind them.

And of course during the day, practice what you’ve learned here and elsewhere. Breathe. Pause before you speak and let your Inner Wisdom do the talking (this lets you act rather re-act, which is a huge difference). Relax, even while your body is busy. Be aware that how you feel comes from how you see things, not the things themselves.  That’s most important, by the way. Don’t judge how you’re doing. And even if you look back over the day and say, “Man, I sucked! I did a terrible job!” then don’t beat yourself up – just try to do better next time. But without judgment. Stay as light as possible. And apologize if you need to. Just speak clearly and speak from the heart. Don’t be guilty. And have fun with it as much as possible, like it’s a game. The game of inner peace. The game of seeing if it’s really true that I’m responsible for how I feel despite what anybody else says or does. And let me know if I can help! You just have to practice. You got this… Happy Holidays!