Gratitude and the Holidays

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the United States, please remember to take the time to express the gratitude you have for your loved ones, your life, your country, and the world.

I thought I might take some time to talk about how to maintain balance and boundaries when hanging out with those who may not see the world the way we do.

I find it very interesting, as I talk with others about their plans,  that the presence or absence of joy depends strongly on who will be at the gathering. The shoulda, woulda, couldas reach maximum volume during this time of the year. My question for us to consider is whether we respond out of duty and obligation, or do we respond because it brings us joy? If we really can’t avoid people who push our buttons, what can we do to set our boundaries firmly so that we don’t feel neglected, abused or taken advantage of?

Here are some tips for surviving and thriving with grace and ease:

  1. Just say NO. Set priorities and leave time open to rest and recharge.
  2. Plan ahead around length of time spent at an event. Setting our boundaries make the tension easier to take.
  3. Excuse yourself if the talk gets heated, or your buttons are being pushed.
  4. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect perfection in a family brouhaha. The family dynamics have been there FOREVER. You don’t have to fix them right now!
  5. Remember that you are not responsible for the behavior of others. You are only responsible for what you say and do, and how or whether you choose to react to what others say and do.
  6. Breathe and think before you speak. Ask yourself, “do I really mean this now, and am I willing to follow through with what I am about to say? Is it necessary, and can I say it kindly?”
  7. Drink a lot of water. Dehydration causes illness, and irritability.
  8. If you just have to have sugar, choose it wisely. Choose quality over quantity. Too much sugar is second to dehydration in getting sick.
  9. Simplify. Cut down on the gifts. Consider recycling items you own that are in great condition and you never use – they may be someone else’s treasure – give it away so that someone else can buy it.
  10. Give to your family’s favorite charity with your time, money, and love.

Gratitude is the magic elixir, the balm that soothes a weary soul, during the holidays and all year round. It helps us plug back into joy and abundance, no matter how hectic the world around us appears.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May your weekend be joyful and abundant.

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