The holidays give us an opportunity to have the whole family together again. Laura and I are nearing the empty nest stage. Although Jordan is 16 and living at home, her schedule keeps her running all the time. The idea of getting the Jhaveri Five back together is awesome. Now understand, there is the ideal of our time together in my mind, and then there is the reality of having four, count them four, highly animated women under one roof. Needless to say, the dynamic is unpredictable.
(I promised to talk to the folks who are not looking forward to the holidays, here we go...)
The intention is to get everyone rowing in the same direction, thereby creating harmony. Unfortunately, the execution sometimes misses the mark. During the correction, feelings get hurt, people are offended and things get ugly. I know I am probably describing familiar situations for you too.
You might be subject to some form of family drama and possibly it is your expectations that are not met. Perhaps you feel like you're disappointing others and you are tired of being viewed as a failure. Regardless, the end results are the same whether you're excited about the holidays or dreading them, there's a level of disappointment.
Have I depressed you enough? Well, you should know me well enough to know I wouldn't leave you sad! What is the solution? Is there a solution to being disappointed and/or frustrated by the holidays? I am proposing some strategies vs. a single solution.
The point is . . . communication is the key to harmony. You should be prepared for silence or "I don't know.” Respond with, “You can think about it and tell me later. I just want you to have an awesome time!”
By the way, this dialogue doesn't have to be initiated by an adult. As a matter of fact, if you’re not the adult, you will be demonstrating excellent leadership skills.
Next change the focus from wanting the perfect holiday which involves changing the behavior of others. Instead, focus on creating the perfect holiday which means changing your behavior. There are specific behavioral traits for which you should watch:
- Do not get offended, make the decision that you will get over yourself!
- Give others the benefit of the doubt.
- If something happens and you suspect it’s malicious or innocent, choose innocent. Remember these behavioral changes are yours to do. Unfortunately, sometimes people are malicious for unknown reasons.
When someone says something rude about you, add on to the comment. Make it more ridiculous and laugh. The cherry on this metaphorical cake is to compliment the antagonist. You have to really sell this performance for it to be effective. Let me give you an example:
A: “I can't believe you ate all that, you’re going to be sorry!”
Me: “Before you know it, the buttons on my shirt are going to pop off like bullets, ha, ha, ha!”
A: “Seriously, you’re going to become fat!”
Me: “Stop, you are too funny, ha, ha, ha!”
You are refusing to give your adversary the desired response. Actually, you are happier the more insults that are hurled at you! This is how a smart, dorky, little Indian boy made it through High School!
Finally, let me tell you the most important thing you should contemplate. Do not give away the power of controlling your emotions to others. Decide to be happy regardless of what other people say or do.
I want to share some wisdom that I heard years ago and it became part of my DNA. "Getting angry with hopes of hurting your 'enemy' makes as much sense as drinking poison hoping your enemy dies!”