Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my!

Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my! I read this great Anne Lamott interview where (among a lot of other things) she talks about dating. She’s on and met a wonderful guy–cute, funny, handsome–but she just couldn’t see the point in their continuing because he said he had a completely normal childhood. No baggage to speak of, what on earth would we talk about? Mmmhmm, I totally get it.

Holidays, family, and baggage, oh my!

This is the time of year when those of us carrying the baggage will likely be spending time with the people the baggage is about. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years… it’s a lot of pressure rolled into five weeks. For those of us who experience the baggage, there can be a mix of emotions at this time not to mention a longing for connections which might not come (at least, not right now) and a wish that our family would see us for the beautiful, creative, openhearted people we are.

And anger, there is anger. I mean, why can’t we have family like The Waltons or the Ingalls or the Bradys? Why not?

It’s a freaking holiday, why can’t everybody just be normal for once?

It’s complicated between the breakdowns and broken hearts; when there’s been so much unforgiveness and heartache; so much misunderstanding, not to mention that we still feel like a 7 year old with our siblings again. It’s hard to put it all into words… you have a feeling like you’re supposed to get together–you should get together–but at the same time, it’s awkward and you don’t want to. Except you do but if only it wasn’t so hard.

I don’t know if anyone has given you permission. You get to do this year your very own way.Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my!

I realize that not everyone will understand. Still, you need to know that you get to do this year your very own way, my friend.

You can choose to love people at a distance, or keep them close without surrendering to their madness. It’s all okay. You can do it your way. Keep creating boundaries which feel good and supportive to you. Choosing yourself and your sanity will not make you a bad person. I know that not everyone will get it, it’s ok, there are plenty of us who do… bring your upset where it will be understood, where you can truly be held. Are there people in your Framily who love and support you? Take the upset to them. Let your Framily love and support you.

Again, give yourself plenty of permission and see what you can do to hold better boundaries (and I am also a fan of the tiny white lie which spares hurt feelings and misunderstandings).

What if you could create an ultimate holiday peace plan for yourself, one which supports what you are wanting for yourself this year?

I can’t begin to tell you how many people go unconscious at the holidays because they don’t know they have full permission to know what they’d like to do. They don’t realize it is not a requirement to pay and pay and pay to go see family who isn’t respectful or supportive or awake. You don’t have to go, sweetie. It’s okay. This is one year out of many. Perhaps you choosing not to do it the same way this time will help wake something up, shake something loose. Do you ever think of it this way?

Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my! Here are some random pep talks for some of my favorite peeps… on our differences and the upset this sometimes causes:

I am a fan of practicing being free from the opinions of other people. Hard to do, but a very rewarding practice. Two of my favorite mantras are: 1) I don’t know and I don’t need to know, 2) It’s none of my business.

Don’t let yourself get too hung up on the outrage or upset you get swept in to as you listen to that family member talk. Detach, walk away, go get a snickie-snack. This is the season of cheese! Enjoy 😉

If someone doesn’t acknowledge you in the way you’d like to be acknowledged, who has the problem? You do. Don’t set yourself up again this year. This is not the only person in the world who holds the key to your validation. You are the only one who can truly love and affirm yourself.

Lots of families have two or three stories that rocked the family but are never spoken about again. The energy is hanging in the air and holidays seem to make it worse. You might feel like more of a robot than normal in their presence. It’s ok. Know this going in, and practice detachment. This might be the best you can do right now. Detach, and practice compassion–you might not realize it but you could be worried about something that they are just as worried about. Just because nobody is speaking to it out loud doesn’t guarantee you are the only one thinking of it. Compassion, detachment, and deep breaths are necessary here.

If the idea of going home for the holidays gives you a feeling like the wild armadillos are dancing in your belly, trust that this is valuable intuitive insight. Something is not feeling easy in your belly. This is a message for you. What if you trusted? What if you believed? What if you honored yourself? You do not have to go. Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my!

Turkeys are turkeys but never forget that difficult family members are people too. Practice compassion and remember, just because they are difficult and behave oddly does not mean you must engage with them through their difficulties. You can love them at a distance. You can honor them without needing to go there with them. But this also means you should not require them to come to where you are (see the double standard there?) Maybe that person is really OK where they are.

What if we could just really let people be? Just enjoy your day and eat your pumpkin pie in peace.

I’ve written a few other articles here which may be supportive to you at this time

When guilt, stress, and crazy pressure can make you forget what the season truly is about

Healing Those Holiday Blues

Staying Afloat in Troubled Times

Honoring what is (vs. pushing the plan)

Sending you my love and just a reminder, this is your Love Posse. You will always find a heart here and a hand to hold your own.

Holidays, Family, and Baggage, oh my!