3 common mistakes and how to fix them
We often find ourselves losing our cool or getting anxious and frustrated at the time when most want to enjoy family and friends. If you have found yourself in those (common) shoes, then here are a few tips that will help you and your family enjoy the holidays with more ease and comfort.
1. Thoughts of “holiday bliss” for all.
Perhaps due to the books we read or the movies we watch, many of us grew up with parental directive of holiday bliss for all! This can result in taking on enormous amounts of responsibility to create moments of perfection for our children and the family.
Yet, this is not the way things normally work out. We often find the best laid plans result in moments that are ‘less’ than what we imagined in our minds. We then get frustrated when life doesn’t unfold as we wanted. So what’s the solution?
Solution: Holiday bliss follows daily bliss.
There is little ‘real’ value that we give over the holidays that we can’t give every single day. If we get caught up in making one day or one event the ‘biggie’, then we really don’t get it. Start with the actions that bring daily bliss to you and do them today – give from your heart, give in small ways and give love where it’s unexpected. By doing these things now, we aren’t doing all this work for weeks on end during the holidays. By making every day blissful, the holidays become icing on the cake.
2. Trying to create moments for othersand getting lost in their reactions.
We usually make the mistake of creating scenes in our mind where we envision the excited response of our children, family or friends. The problem comes when we get addicted to the imagined response to our gift, our meal or even our decorating. Our addiction to other’s reactions is most obvious when their response is the opposite of what we intended. Yikes! We are devastated and upset.
Solution: Focus only on appreciation for “your best”.
The key here is to shift the focus from what others do or say to noticing what your heart ‘tugs’ at you to do. What is it that feels right? If it is giving, then give the best you can. If it is loving, then love the best you can. If it is sharing your thoughts, then share the best you can.
Just focus your actions on doing your best, and then bring appreciation to those moments. There’s no need for anything fancy, just smile as you give, as you share and as you entertain, with an eye toward appreciating your own desire to give it your best.
Then, as they like or dislike, you know that you are just there to do the best you can. You can’t do more.
3. Repeating bad decisions yearafter year out of guilt or obligation.
As a family, it is important to invest some energy into reviewing previous holiday seasons and noticing what worked and what didn’t work. It is a typical human fault that we adopt a ‘losing strategy’ and yet tend to repeat this over and over, despite our pain and suffering.
So, plan a 30-minute family review session over dinner. Be honest about the time, energy and psychological costs of various decisions. At times, your children may enjoy events that simply cost too much emotionally for you. At other times, you may notice that certain parties or celebrations involved huge amounts of time and energy, yet brought relatively little return.
Solution: Identify losing strategies and drop them like a hot potato!
Be brutally honest. Was it worth it? If not, then force yourself to makes some changes. Get help. Reduce the spending. Cancel it. Have someone else do it. Decline an offer.
One of the best ways to see your way through this is with some independent input. Bring an outside party into your family discussion. Give them permission to be honest and offer strong suggestions. You don’t have to take their advice, you just want some input.
The goal is sanity and peace, not perfection. If you choose less, it can be more when you are focused on just doing your best to enjoy, love and share.
Have a great holiday season!
Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit www.TerrificParenting.com.