As we move closer to the holiday season, people’s lives tend to become increasingly hectic. We love the holidays because they are a time filled with presents, food, and time with friends and family and for some people even time off from work. However, sometimes this time with family is not always filled with peace. I was reminded of this recently as an associate shared with me how the holidays are her house quickly turn into a time for arguments and sometimes have been so stressful that she has left and come home. We cannot enjoy the peace of the holiday season when we are arguing with each other and pressing each other’s buttons.
I have seen this kind of scenario in more than one made for TV movie. The family gets together and then intentionally or not they begin to do things, which transform a peaceful gathering to a scene of dysfunction that parallels a “horror” movie. While it was not a holiday gathering, I can remember a family gathering at our home growing up. It started because one of my uncles had a little bit too much to drink and then his wife, who had also had too much to drink, started acting as if she were Dolly Parton in the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. My mother tried to reign her in and my father tried to corral my uncle and my brothers and I took cover, especially me as I wanted to be nowhere near my uncle at that point. I think you get the point; sometimes being with family can bring out the worst in us. We can learn a lot from those experiences. We can learn what causes the peace to be disrupted. For my family, we resolved this by not allowing alcohol at functions when this particular aunt and uncle were coming over to visit, holiday or not.
However, sometimes the anger we feel during this holiday season is less about others and more about ourselves. It is a time for us to give ourselves the gift of healing and peace. Sometimes we can become so angry with someone that we choose to shut them out of our lives. We think if we do not think about them or speak their name, then we will not feel that anger. However, until we can talk about a person without the anger, we are not in a space of peace. For example, I have someone in my life who I love dearly, however, we had not spoken to each other in 8 years for reasons I still do not have answers to. When this person reappeared in my life, I felt anger when they refused to talk about what had happened. I had to look at what within me was contributing to that anger. What was my role? In the process of doing so, I gained some valuable information about myself and was able to walk away with peace knowing I had done all I could do in this situation. I am now able to talk about this person with peace and love in my heart.
In this season, when we wish each other peace, love, and joy, may we take the time to give ourselves the gift of internal peace so we may radiate it into our relationships with others. Happy Holidays!