- Make sure that family members understand that this is a difficult time and why.
- Ask certain family members that you trust to stay aware of the forecast in the room and to keep an ear out for questionable kid conversation. We all (possibly) have that one insensitive person that will ask the annoying kid questions (i.e. When are you going to have kids? You’re clock is ticking.) or make insensitive statements (i.e. ‘Just let it go.’ ‘At least fill in the blank.’).
- If it’s a situation when gifts are being opened, find out if the kids can have their prior to your arrival so you have to feel like the odd one out.
- Stay home and have a lovely time with your spouse.
- Plan an amazing vacation to Anywheresville, stick your toes in the sand, and have a Margherita or five.
I’ve been in a pretty pensive mood lately. I have so much going on in this head of mine. I’ve been thinking about the relationships I’ve had over the last few years, where they currently are, and what I’ve learned from them. The common thread that I am seeing is the act of “letting go.” I’m not saying “letting go” in the sense that I’ve let people go (in some instances, I have), but I suppose this has more of a dual meaning for me. I’m learning to let go of people, yes, but I’ve learned to also let go of people so I can be free to be myself.
What do I mean by letting go of people? I am very “maternal” by nature. I love to help and nurture, but sometimes to a flaw. Sometimes people need to be “let go” so that they can learn and experience certain things for themselves. My Mommee always said that a fool has to learn everything for themselves. So I have always practiced asking questions because I would rather learn from someone else’s experience (for some things) if it means I will avoid potentially hazardous pitfalls. Of course there are things that can’t be learned through another person; first hand experience can be very necessary. Playing the balancing act between 2nd hand and experiential learning has served me very well. But what I have been realizing is that everyone doesn’t operate that way. I’m not saying it’s wrong, it’s just different. You might be thinking “Duh, of course everyone is different,” but subconsciously, we want to relate to each other on some level hoping that we are not necessarily the same, but similar. I digress. As much as I want to open my arms and heart to help people, sometimes not helping is the best help, not just for the individual, but for myself. This is where “letting go of people so I can be free to be myself” comes in. As I am letting go and not assuming responsibility for anyone’s choices, I am freeing myself to presently live in my own experience.
Let me tell you a little story. I had a friend that I consistently fell into altercations with. For this intent and purpose, let’s call her Taylor. Taylor and I got into a very unhealthy cycle of her asking me questions, and me responding as honestly as I possibly could with love. It turned into world war 3. Every. Single. Time. What I’ve learned from that experience is that through letting go, I’ve released myself of the responsibility of how Taylor reacted to my answers. I released myself from the thought process of “why is she so mad…” “i was trying to be honest…” “I was just trying to help…” because honestly, none of that was or is my problem. All that mattered/matters is that I am acting upon my intentions of being a true friend and I am being true to who I am through living according to my personal convictions.
I am not saying that people should be cold. I am learning that when I am weeping with those who are weeping, or rejoicing for those who are rejoicing, I am simply being there with them but not assuming responsibility for their “stuff.” I can cry with a friend who is hurting or smile with a friend who just received a promotion, but their situation is not mine to carry. (Just to cover my bases, I am not saying that people shouldn’t help others because being self-absorbed is not healthy either). Sometimes, I do get a little tempted to jump back into my old pattern of thinking, but then I have to remind myself:
-I am not responsible of the decisions of others.
-I am not responsible for whether someone likes me or not.
-I am not responsible for the thriving or the struggle of others.
By releasing these unassigned responsibilities, I have been freeing myself to live in my own journey. This is what is known as Self-Care. Now, I can focus on now. I can be there for myself, I can show up for me.