For many people, the holidays are a time of excitement and joy. Feeling grateful for what they have and are anxious to share time and gifts with their loved ones. But for others, it is a time of stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Do you find yourself dreading the holidays as they approach? Do you feel anxious and stressed out?
I bet you ask yourself, “why does this happen to me? The holidays are supposed to be awesome, yet I feel awful.” It will be ok. Take a deep breath and relax for a moment as we go through this exercise. Sometimes we just need to find the source of our feelings. If you can pinpoint that and address it, you will be able to overcome it. The coaching model comes into play here if you can write it all down. First, you have your circumstance which may be an unwelcome guest or the friend/family member that makes you feel bad about yourself whenever you are in their presence. You may just feel overwhelmed with so many people all in one place. Next, we have your thought about your circumstance which causes a feeling which in turn will trigger an action on your part and finally your result.
Let’s use an example: You have a family member that you only see at the holidays and typically that person says or does something that really upsets you.
Your circumstance is: The family member.
What is your thought about that family member? Something like, “She always makes me feel bad about my life choices or he brags about all of his accomplishments so much that it annoys me.” Or whatever the thought is that you are having about your circumstance.
How does that thought make you feel? Remember, thoughts cause your feelings, not the circumstance. You may feel uncomfortable, mad, sad, jealous, stressed or tense. Feelings are vibrations in your body which, in this case, are usually unwelcome feelings.
How will you react or act because of your feelings? You may retreat into a state of depression or you may lash out at this person. You may leave the party early because you don’t want to deal with how you are feeling. There are so many actions you may take that probably don’t serve you well.
Finally, what is your result? The result may be that you had a bad holiday experience because of this other person. You have missed out on some fun events due to how you reacted. In general, your result is not a good one.
Just changing how you think about a circumstance can change everything. Let’s say that you know you are going to be with people that you don’t want to be with. You can think a new thought, like “my life is good and whatever anyone says or does will not change my already happy/peaceful life.” What other people do or say is not in your control so therefore it puts the negative energy on them. You know that you are happy without this person or people in your life and their behavior belongs to them, right? Try to look at them with curiosity and fascination. Like Iyanla Vanzant says, “don’t make other people’s crazy about you.” You have your own life and world to be in control of. Let those people make their own impressions on the world. You also have to remember that not everyone is going to like you and you have to be ok with that. I also like the analogy that “you might be the sweetest, ripest, most delicious peach on the tree, but not everyone likes peaches.”
OK, now you have changed your thought, how does that make you feel? If you feel good about your thought that your life, as it is, makes you happy then perhaps you can look at those people and feel sad for them or think of ways to make them feel better about what they are saying to you. Just remembering that other people’s words cannot hurt you. It is what YOU THINK about their words that can hurt you. Thinking a new thought changes everything.
Now that you feel better, how will you act? You may decide that you are not going to leave early because there are other people at the event that you would like to talk with and catch up with. You won’t feel sad or mad or anxious because you know your life is in order and someone else telling you things they really have no idea about just can’t hurt you.
Your result will be a lovely holiday, shared with family and friends that you choose to chat with or interact with and see the negative circumstance as just something you have zero control over.
We can talk more about this in a one-hour session