Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holidays… Ugh!!

How do we cope with our strong feelings when we are dealing with someone who is unaware of how their behavior affects others?

Often times we are forced to deal with people… especially in family situations and surrounding holidays events… who are unaware of how their actions appear to others. It is common for us to believe that our intentions are visible, when in fact it is only our actions that can be seen and felt by those around us.

If others are feeling overwhelmed and their actions impact us, what can we do to practice self care? We use our tools… deep breathing… taking a walk… calling a friend… journaling… prayer… letting go. If necessary we give ourselves permission to leave the situation and take a time out until we feel more balanced. We cannot be emotionally present for others if we are not practicing self care. If practical, we can return once we are centered to discuss the situation in an attempt to resolve issues.

Part of self care is effectively managing expectations. If we have a history of unresolved issues involving family, we must learn to expect whatever family dynamics exist to continue. We can choose not to participate in unhealthy situations. We expect many change back messages from those who are uncomfortable with our growth. We can understand their discomfort… empathize… and still maintain our healthy boundaries.

The holidays can be an especially trying time as we interact with our family of origin. Old issues that lie beneath the surface may be triggered by interactions with siblings, parents or extended family. We owe it to ourselves to use our tools, practice self care and manage expectations. In this way we have the ability to spend our time with our families while still maintaining healthy boundaries and working on more positive interactions.

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