We’re in the holiday season which for many of us means an onslaught of family, friends and festivities. And of course with that comes the usual high entertainment, high stress and high anxiety of which there are many articles around this time of year of how to deal with, especially when normal and agreed boundaries are overstepped
It occurred to me the other day as I was pondering a phone call, it seems family dynamics don’t necessarily need a celebration to spark up, if not fully implode, that it might be worthwhile tackling this family (& sometimes friends) anxiety from a different perspective?
We all know the only people that can truly affect our feelings are us, what we allow ourselves to be affected by ie other people’s comments, lack of action etc etc is really down to us.
I practice very hard at controlling how I let others affect me and am not always successful but I am fully aware of it when it comes to family, friends and holiday festivities. Again not always successfully, but it occurred to me is that we don’t often know our relatives and sometimes friends outside the role they play as it relates to us?
We tend to view them almost always through the lens of
sister, uncle, mother, brother-in-law and so on. A few years ago on a
fascinating trip to Cuba, a woman who was part of our group turned to me and
said “you are so lucky to have such a sweet mother-in-law!”
For all of you out there feeling smugly as you get on famously with your MIL – how jolly nice for you, you know you’re in the minority! I digress ….
I was so gob-smacked by this comment all I could do was to smile slightly manically once I had restored my composure. But outside her role as MIL she is indeed a sweet person but like all MIL relationships there is often tension and sweet is not a word I would use to describe her. Clever, generous and traditional yes, sweet no. I recall at my Father’s funeral so many people talked about a man I certainly never saw a glimpse of? I realized I did not know him outside the role of my Father and to be honest I never took the time to find out!
I was fortunate with my Mother to really enjoy her company as a person, yes we argued, a lot. But almost accidentally by asking her about why she did this, why she did that, as it pertained to our lives, I found out about her as an individual.
Now I am not saying we would definitely like our fractious sibling or argumentative aunt if we met them outside our familial environments. It might however, give us a different perspective on their character that might help us to deal with behavior they exhibit towards us?
Enjoy the festivities wherever you are and whomever you’re with, because now the hard part comes, putting this into practice and still not letting the barbs draw blood!! :-))
Look Gorgeous, Feel Fabulous – Sophie