…Without Getting Drawn Into It
Holidays have always been emotionally loaded times; but everything that’s been happening in the world seems to have escalated the overload level in the past couple of years… Many of us find ourselves caught between wanting to have a good time with family during the supposedly cheerful holiday season, and having a gloomy idea of what that’s really going to look like…
All of us have issues to work through and resolve; however, it’s also true that some family members and close friends seem to bring more than their share of drama to the table. If we’re able to avoid getting together with people who need their fix of DDD (Daily Dose of Drama) to survive, and who tend to suck the energy right out of the room and trigger us in the process, sometimes that can be the best option. But this might not be possible without avoiding the rest of the family, or creating more issues and drama ourselves. In that case, those necessary encounters can always be used as opportunities to continue healing issues and improving ourselves, as follows:
- We can learn how to process our own emotions. Everything that happens to us reflects or mirrors something that we’re either reflecting back, or that needs more understanding and deeper healing within ourselves. Observing our triggered emotions and learning to express them constructively in a safe space are the first steps in the process of re-framing, healing and releasing them. Sometimes, professional guidance may be necessary.
- We can watch and avoid repeating old patterns of behavior. When we are with family with whom we still have unresolved issues, we tend to fall back into the same old patterns we’ve been repeating with them for a long time. Rather than falling into that same trap for the umpteenth time, we can choose to observe and deconstruct those patterns. Before reacting to a family member who did something to trigger us, let’s stop and think: Have I acted out or reacted in a similar way to the same person or situation before? How did that work out for everyone involved? Was it really worth it? If not, why would I want to do the same thing again? What can I do differently this time? At any given moment, we all have the choice to react to an old issue in a completely renewed (and hopefully more effective and constructive) way. Sometimes the answer is simply to not engage. Believe me, that takes a whole lot more discernment, sensitivity, perception and courage than acting out, reacting or overreacting in the usual manner.
- We can draw strong boundaries. Even if we have to be in the same place with someone we have issues with, that doesn’t mean that we have to engage or allow ourselves to be energetically and emotionally engaged by that person; we can still exchange polite greetings and partake in casual conversation without being dragged into the drama vortex.
- We can find a quiet place and connect with our inner voice or guidance, giving ourselves a break to reset, recharge and refocus before dealing with the person(s) or situation again.
- We can approach people and situations with caution, rather than fear. After being burned by the same people and situations over and over, it’s a normal reaction to start fearing and expecting the worst of any form of engagement. However, the “fear” language comes from the ego and just brings more of the same, along with its siblings, anger, resentment, paranoia, etc. On the other hand, the language of love only begets more love. Love always wins. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to just go out there and expose ourselves to harmful and hurtful people and situations. But even choosing to be cautions from a place of love and compassion is more positive and constructive than anything that comes from a place of fear.
- We can choose to not intentionally harm or hurt. That can be tempting, if we’ve been repeatedly harmed or hurt ourselves. Ultimately, though, we carry the energetic load of what we’ve done to others much more heavily than that of what’s been done to us. And who needs that kind of karma?
- We can avoid gossip (and not worry about what they’re saying, either). He said, she said… People who live on drama tend to gossip, lie, take things out of context, embellish or distort facts. Although that can be hurtful, in the end it doesn’t really matter what people are saying about us. Those who truly know and love us won’t pay attention to or believe in untruths, and those who would believe whatever is said without checking the facts or bothering to ask for our version or point of view are not worth having around or be too close to, anyway.
What matters more is what we’re saying about others. Is it positive or negative? Will it add to the dialogue in a helpful and meaningful way or just foster more negativity, separation, discord? Is it coming from love or fear? Let’s keep in mind the energetic load we’re creating for ourselves and others, and choose wisely.
- We can let go of trying to fix or save someone else. We can’t help anyone who’s not ready or willing to help themselves, and we can’t shorten anyone’s path. That would actually rob them of important learning and growing experiences. Each of us needs to be responsible for our own actions and reactions, our own healing and growth.
- We can try your best to feel compassion for that person (or persons) by remembering that everyone of us is doing the best that we can at any given moment. Self-compassion is also a must; that includes giving ourselves a break if we slip and react to someone or to a situation, despite our best intentions. After all, the holidays are about forgiveness, as well…
With all that being said, wishing you a lovely (and loving) holiday season!
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 11/30/21
Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash
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