Holidays can be great, but they can also be challenging. Each person in every family has his or her own energy, plus the collective energy of the family itself. This is true for both nuclear families as well as extended families.
It’s easy to get drawn into old or stagnant family energies and stories that may not serve or uplift you. These stories may, in fact, create inner disturbances you can’t quite pinpoint. As a result, you might find yourself anticipating stress at holiday gatherings, if not dreading them altogether. This might be because old, negative, and unconscious patterns are playing out on the current stage of your life, even though these patterns are not in alignment with your values, intentions, or goals.
Here’s an exercise for not getting sucked into powerful, negative family dynamics. This is helpful to do any time of year and with any person who’s taking up too much space in your head, but it can be especially helpful during the holiday season.
Fill in the blank below with the name of a family member of your choosing, and recite or write the words that follow:
“_______, I respectfully return to you any and all energies of yours that I’ve been carrying. I accept and love you as you are. And I accept and love myself as I am. I honor you and I honor myself. I release you, bless you, and set you free. In so doing, I liberate myself and give thanks for my many blessings.”
If you’re feeling less than joyous at the prospect of seeing your family during the holidays, try to identify any judgments you may have placed against yourself or others and forgive yourself for them.
Here are a few examples of things you might be holding on to but needing to release:
• I forgive myself for judging myself [or someone else] as less than or not good enough.
• I forgive myself for judging myself [or someone else] as not caring.
• I forgive myself for believing the misconception that I am [or somebody else is] not loveable.
• I forgive myself for thinking that I need [or someone else needs] to be, do, or have more than I am, do, or have.
Both of these exercises can help you maintain your equilibrium before, during, or after visiting with your family!
And let’s not lose sight of what the holidays are about: gratitude, connection, and generosity of spirit. Celebrate in whatever ways make sense to you. Don’t go on autopilot and engage in rituals that aren’t meaningful to you. Create your own meaning. Write your own stories. If you’re not happy during the holidays, ask why not. Write the part of you that’s unhappy a letter. Let it respond. Give your unhappiness a voice. Ask what it wants. Be generous and compassionate with yourself. Create a holiday season that is uniquely yours. Look for the blessings. They are right in front of you. Slow down. Savor love. Celebrate your gifts. You do not have to shop for the perfect gift. You are the perfect gift. Be the perfect gift you are!