The holidays are now in full swing! It seems like almost everyone has at least one relative or family acquaintance that knows how to get under your skin. Whether it be sly underhanded remarks, unkind facial expressions, or backward compliments, we all have loved ones that know how to push our buttons. Add the recent election upheaval that has left much of our country divided and you may just have a perfect storm in sight. Here is a tip I often give clients who express apprehension at being around certain family members or family friends during the holiday season:
When in any social situation with a “less than ideal” group of participants, understand that you have no control over other people’s actions. We cannot stop people from doing whatever it is that they are going to do. In reality, few people even consider their actions before taking action. They are at the mercy of old patterns. That’s them. You are you. The locus of control is within you. At any moment, you have a choice – you can either react or respond. When you choose to respond, you stay in your own power because your behaviors are in line with what feels right to you.
By giving others permission to be who they are, you are able to keep yourself calm, cool, and collected. By giving someone permission to be just who they are (such as your “loud mouth” uncle or “know it all” sister) you take back your power. He or she no longer has the ability to invade your emotions and elicit unwanted behavior. You eliminate being triggered because you have internally already pardoned them for their lack of social graces.
To pardon does not mean to give approval but it does mean that you have decided to release the responsibility of trying to fix or change someone who really can only fix or change themselves. By giving someone permission to be just who he or she is, you reframe the mind, reframe your perception, and therefore reclaim your own power. Gone are the days of them having some sort of power over you. Now go enjoy the holidays:)
Kristen Luman, Cht.