Enjoying Your Holidays

Do holiday family gatherings bring joy or difficult memories and painful feelings?

I came across a helpful article by fellow SelfGrowth.com author Laurie McAnaugh; here are some excerpts from it to help you overcome the negativity and enjoy your holiday experience. Use the links in the footnotes to read her full article(This is one of the classic holiday “help” articles– a good reminder for each of us each Christmas/New Year’s season.)

Ms. McAnaugh discusses that if holidays are emotionally draining to you rather than a time to enjoy remembrances of all you have to be thankful for, you may need to ask yourself the following questions:

-Why do I behave that way when I’m around certain members of my family?

-I don’t always like who I am when I am around that person.

-What is it about that person that they constantly say things that hurt my feelings?

-What is it about me that I allow that person to get under my skin?

If the holidays cause you to have the above thoughts, Ms. McAnaugh encourages you to ponder these questions:

-How would it feel to spend the holidays with each of your family members and still feel good about yourself, during and after the experience?

-How would it feel to imagine a solid bubble around yourself that protects you from any insult or negative words?

-How would it feel to believe so strongly in your positive contribution to the world that you simply have no need to react at all to anything anyone says or thinks about you?

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This is a great quote from Laurie on having true power during your holiday interactions:

When we focus our energy on someone else’s choices…we let them affect us in ways that cause us frustration, guilt and defensiveness. If we could consider that this person is doing the best they can with the tools they have…and their choices are a reflection on them…it would remind us that how we react to others is a choice that only we can make. As much as we want to believe that controlling the actions of others would make our lives easier, in fact it’s really the other way around. Being in control of our own actions and most of all, reactions, is a characteristic of true power.

Rather than focusing on the words and actions of others, Ms. McAnaugh admonishes us to focus on what we can control—our own behavior and being who we want to be.

It should be noted, when interacting with others, it’s always necessary to take responsibility for our own behavior. Learning to step away from a situation to ask ourselves, “Is this who I want to be?…Am I acting out of guilt, jealousy or an unnecessary need to be understood by others?” When we step away to observe our own actions, it is…a time to own it, fix it and then move on. There’s nothing more powerful then saying, “That behavior and way of thinking is not in line with who I want to be. I know I can do better.”

Laurie concludes her article with the well stated point that when we decide that our own positive opinion of ourselves is the most important one, we are less affected by others’ opinions and can simply ignore others’ negativity.

Click Here to Read Laurie’s Full Article: Learning to Enjoy The Holidays No Matter Where You Are 
Laurie McAnaugh is the founder of Access Your Power and achieves her mission through teaching workshops, consulting privately with clients and presenting to groups nationwide.  Her website is http://www.choosetobepowerful.com

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