In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to offer a powerful suggestion that will help you to enjoy Thanksgiving and the Holidays.
First a quick update:
**** “Avoiding Holiday Stress” -Listen to the radio interview I give to world famous TV personality Sally Jessy Raphael about my top nine tips, techniques and strategies to prevent arguments, fights and stress around the Holidays. I also reveal insights into the male and female traits that create hurt, pain, depression and major disappointments during the Holidays. http://patrickwanis.com/RadioInterviews.asp#EasingHolidayStress
**** “Personality Quiz” – Are you a “Talker, Doer, Thinker or Watcher”? Find out and learn how to use the information to help you to succeed in business and personal relationships. I usually only present this personality profile test live at seminars and corporate training programs but it’s now available for immediate download: http://patrickwanis.com/WhoAreYouPersonalityTest.asp
So how can we prevent pain, arguments and future regrets this Holiday season?
Given that each one of us faces his or her own challenges and unique situation, there is not one immediate way to prevent all of the potential pain. However, I would like to offer a suggestion that could help almost all of us. I feel that it is safe to say that every one of us has someone in our family to whom we hold a negative emotion; maybe he or she hurt us or, maybe we hurt someone. And we know that as soon as we are physically near that person it triggers our pain. Some of us try to resolve the issue at the dinner table and we find ourselves blurting out or acting out our hurt, pain or resentment. The result is the occasion is often spoiled for everyone and can worsen our relationships, deepen our anger and bitterness and, seriously affect the children. Thus, as obvious as it may sound, it needs repeating: The dinner table, the party, the family get-together is not the place to resolve or heal years of pain, resentment or unspoken words.
Instead, I suggest an exercise or process that you can do prior to the event to release some of the pent up emotion and to help you feel more inner peace.
Step one: In a quiet place, imagine that the person whom you feel badly towards is standing in front of you. Begin by writing a letter to him or her. Allow the emotions to come up – you may feel anger, hurt, sadness, loss, etc. Write or say everything – holding nothing back; you are not going to present this letter to anyone. It is for your eyes only but do imagine that you are speaking to that person. It is ok to be angry or say horrible words (better you say them in this context than at the dinner table.)
Step two: Write out what you wanted from this person, what you had expected; again, as if you are speaking directly to him or her.
Step three: Write out how you feel about what happened and how it has affected you.
Step four: Write out what you know about his or her childhood. What did she experience? Who hurt her? Did she have great teachers? In other words, was she taught love, respect, patience, compassion, understanding, etc? Did she receive love? Was she given validation, recognition and physical love and affection? Did her mom and dad spend time with her, give her attention or express interest in her? Did she suffer? What do you think she missed out on as a child? What do you think she wanted all of her life? As you continue doing this exercise (writing, thinking or speaking it aloud) now imagine this person as a child? Can you see and feel his or her pain?
Step five: Forgive and express compassion for their pain.
The key here is to forgive this person i.e. to give understanding for what happened and to express compassion. I am not suggesting condoning what they did but rather understanding that whatever they did or didn’t do was not about you; it was never about you. We often find it hard to forgive the other person that hurt or wronged us because we believe and feel at a subconscious level that it was our fault; that if they didn’t love us or love us the way we wanted or needed, then there must be something wrong with us. We also resist forgiving the other person because we want to teach them a lesson or we don’t want to condone what they did. Remember, the longer you hold onto the lack of forgiveness (the resentment, pain, anger, revenge, etc) the longer and more you will suffer. That is why we explode at the dinner table of the Holiday party; we are vulnerable and all of our pain rises up. So, do the above exercise as best as you can prior to arriving at the dinner. And remember to forgive yourself if you feel you did something wrong.
Finally, I was speaking at a seminar on relationships for Peak Potentials Training recently and I emphasized the point that there is no such thing as a truly functional family because no one is perfect and as children we innately have such extraordinary expectations that no human being can truly live up to or meet. Please keep this in mind when getting together with your family this Holiday season so that you can make it a “Happy Thanksgiving!” Happy Holidays to you and your family.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist