Holidays often bring out the worst in all of us. We have so much we want to say to people that we only see once or twice a year. We have so few opportunities to share our feelings that we open up to them during all to short visits. They ask us if everything is okay and since they are asking, we feel like we can dump our issues, feelings and emotions in their lap and walk away unscathed. They have to still love us, they are family. I know I have been guilty of over sharing at family events. The reality is that a family event can be a moment to share things that are necessary, to tell news or to talk about serious issues. However, as I was recently reminded a discussion requires me to listen. That can be tough when you have so much to say! It is equally challenging when you are the one trying to escape from the discussion! As the one listening, in years past I have found myself getting more and more irritated with the emotional dump. I want to have a good rant to explain that I can’t take any more. I have my own issues that I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes I consider spending quality time out in the cold or snow…maybe some wood needs to be chopped or I really need to walk to the grocery store for something…ANYTHING! Sean Covey uses the metaphorical ‘Personal Bank Account’ in his book, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The basic premise is that each of us holds such an account and we choose to make deposits by doing positive things in our relationships and we make withdraws when we do negative things. Its a great book to read and if you’re really into it, you should read the original, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Sean’s father. If you need to have a major discussion about your emotions, emotional state or other issues, there are lots of great Psychologists available and many insurance plans will cover the sessions. They can help you work through some deep emotional issues. Your family is most likely not trained to cope with your emotional needs appropriately. Even if they are a psychologist or counselor and you see them at the holidays, remember that they are also there for an escape from work and respect their right to some time away from their vocation. Even a few sessions may make a big difference on your outlook and improve your ability to deal with day to day issues in a more effective manner. Share your news, tell great stories, talk about your life. Recognize your family and friends limitations on their ability to listen and to help. Remember that we each have a personal bank account and when you’re the one over sharing you’re making a withdraw from that account. Make sure you are the one listening and helping sometimes so you have some deposits to offset the withdraws. Let the good and fun family stories go on. Take the negative stories and learn from those mistakes. Ultimately have the grace to listen and speak in kindness and love.
This is the eleventh post in this series, let me recommend you first read ‘Twelve Debts of Christmas‘, ‘Family Holiday Ground Rules’, ‘1 Million Dollars’, ‘A Mental Breakdown’, ‘Equity’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Time’, ‘Tech Free Space’ and ‘Escape Route’.