It's Thanksgiving week in the U.S. and with it comes the time honored tradition of kicking off the season of shoulds. - I should attend every event I'm invited to - I should be happy to see my [insert name here: in-laws, sister, uncle, cousin I haven't been speaking to, etc.] - I should eat whatever is served, even if I'm already full and I know it's not healthy for me - I should send cards - I should decorate my home and post photos that look like I'm having the perfect holiday - I should make ten kinds of cookies because that's what I have done every other year, and it's expected that I will again - I should be patient, kind, generous, happy-happy-happy - I shouldn't feel tired, hermit-like, sad, angry, or any un-holiday feeling
Did I miss yours?
Looking around right now I see a good percentage of us suffering from the twinge of holiday hang-ups. Rembrances of loved ones who aren't here, of the past when things were better. The heavy sigh when we are asked what we are doing for the holidays that means, "I'm bracing for drama."
Not. This. Year.
What's the solution? To feel the holiday spirit.
We all want to believe that the angels-singing moment of perfect harmony, and warm embrace of homecoming are possible. The trouble is that we keep blaming everyone else on why it's not happening.
Your loved ones are not going to change their quirky ways, so there is no point in reacting to it the same way you have before. It's time to take ownership. If you catch yourself frowning, sighing and eye-rolling at people in your life let it be a reminder that you get to choose who you spend time with and how you feel about it.
You can live in the cycle of guilt, should, drama, blame, or you can make another choice.
As I write this, I'm on the train to Washington, DC to hug some of my favorite people on the planet. In the days leading up to the trip, I was asked what I was doing for Thanksgiving and caught myself rehashing old stories.
Instead of excitedly describing the plans I was so happy to be part of, I sunk myself into a pit of my own design. It felt yucky, and was completely unnecessary.
If you want to feel the holiday spirit of gratitude, love and peace, then go get it. Shoulds (and drama that you have helped to perpetuate) be damned!
Much love from me to you.