Sometimes it’s the big occasions in life that are the most difficult to experience in the now. It’s easy to move through the holiday season and feel like you’ve completely missed it, because your head was stuck in the past, the future, or both.
This kind of distracted thinking muddles our interactions with those around us and limits our joy and gratitude. In my own life, I’ve definitely experienced plenty of anxiety around the holidays. This time of year can bring up a lot of memories, both good and bad. When families are brought together in close quarters for extended periods of time, sometimes the dynamics can be or have been challenging, and people can get hurt.
To improve your family dynamics, it’s important not to hold onto those wounded memories and give them the power to determine the present. Something Gina always asks me when I make a negative statement about things is, “Well, is that true?” And you have to really examine it—is this true, now? Or is it just something that happened?
Remember that there is always as much potential for everything to unfold beautifully as there is for things to go wrong. So maybe you’re anxious because in the past Uncle Billy made fun of you during the holidays, so now you’re dreading his visit. Or, Cousin Janette totally blew up that one Thanksgiving, so we better all walk on eggshells once she gets here.
Well you’ve now left the moment and ventured into the realm of “What if?” Instead of reflecting on the past and the potential future, getting yourself worked up, spend some moments doing positive affirmations, such as “I always love when Uncle Billy comes around, we have so much fun together.” Get into an emotive state of happiness and joy, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and concentrate on how you want to live today. Often times you’ll find that your own behavior and mindset has everything to do with how you experience the situation.
Even if we don’t have relatives coming over this year, we can benefit from letting go and forgiving
them for anything unpleasant that’s happened. These memories of past events are like conditioning, so the holidays can be subconsciously triggering. If we don’t let go, we might find ourselves behaving strangely for seemingly no reason—much to the confusion of those with us right now.
Instead of letting that happen, think about only what’s true today. Focus on enjoying the people around you and having a blast celebrating all the blessings you’ve had this year. Your presence is a gift with the most power to bring joy to those around you—so give it lovingly. You’ll soon find that the moment is always the happiest place to be.