Avoiding Arguments And Pain for Thanksgiving & The Holidays

Avoiding Arguments And Pain for Thanksgiving & The Holidays

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. 

“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.

Now, let’s talk about Thanksgiving and the Holidays. They are supposed to be the happiest times of the year but often prove to be the unhappiest and most miserable for many people, with arguments, breakups, loneliness, sadness and depression.

The first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place on September 8, 1565, when 600 Spanish settlers landed at what is now St. Augustine, Florida, and immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World; there followed a feast and celebration. Today, Thanksgiving can be a time to stop and express appreciation and gratitude for everything and everyone in your life. However, the Holidays automatically trigger every insecurity that we have as well as our fears, anger, frustration, resentment, bitterness, guilt and shame that we feel or hide deep inside; we become emotionally vulnerable when we spend time with the people closest to us – our family, and when we combine that with our expectations of them and of ourselves it’s easy for eruptions to occur. And this year, as many people face job losses and a lack of financial resources, dealing with gifts and children will be even more painful.

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

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6 replies
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    Cher says:

    If you stop and look at everyone as an innocent child and realize the type of expectations that all children have, you are instantly reminded of how vulnerable they are because of their lack of understanding of the grown up world. Which is another powerful reminder, there is no way that they can have that knowledge and furthermore, they aren’t supposed to. I think that was an important thing to bring up and that we should all keep that in mind throughout the holiday season. I really love the holidays and I just tell myself that there is no reason for me to not cherish the person that I am and not worry about what others may think about me. They have enough to think about with their own lives. My job as a friend, a sister, and a daughter is to love my family and express that to them. The good thing about choices is that we HAVE them. I choose to remove the stress from the season.

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