I think we've gotten confused about what the holidays are supposed to be about. The pressure to buy gifts and book flights and see everyone you're supposed to see, has created such a frenzy, that rather than appreciating what the season is supposed to be about, we are really just trying to get through it.
The holidays are supposed to be about the love we have for each other and expressing that love by spending time together. However, the flip side of family togetherness is the fact that some gatherings can feel somewhat manufactured.
She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
What is family? For some of us, it's a group of people that we would never hang out with if we weren't related to them. After a lifetime of growing up together it may turn out we actually don't have anything in common with the people closest to us. Or worse, we may have horrible memories that come up every time we see them.
So how can we feel the love for the people in our lives who also make us crazy?
1. Forgive Just For Today
Don't give power to the mistakes of the past. What if just for one day you could forgive your sister for stealing your high school boyfriend? Or Aunt Rosie for always being drunk at the family parties? Or yourself for not living up to the expectations of your parents? What if for just one day you could erase those things from your memory and just deal with the person in the moment, as they are now? It would give you a fresh perspective and you might see something in that person that you've never seen before.
2. No expectations
Expectations can only breed disappointment if everyone and everything does not live up to the idea you had in your mind of how things should go. Try to just focus on everything as it's happening and live in the moment. And enjoy the mess!
One way to feel more love for the people in our lives is to practice mindfulness. Really noticing everything about them. Just look at the person you are talking to, and really take them in. Pretend this is the last time you will ever see them. What color are their eyes? How does their face move when they laugh? In what ways do they look like you or other members of the family? Noticing someone on that level can make you fall in love with them.
4. Give More Love
Rather than focusing on what you're getting from everyone else (especially presents!) think about what you can give. What does each person in your life need from you? Attention? Time? Praise and validation? Figure out what they really want for Christmas and give it to them!
5. Disconnect to re-connect
Do I even need to tell you to get off your phone? I mean really, it's one day. For one day leave the phone in the car and focus on the real people in your life. Not the ones on Facebook. It might even help you to feel the love!
Michelle Carr, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Life Coach. She works with private clients all over the world using psychological and spiritual principals to help them create the life of their dreams.
A California girl and former actress and stand-up comedian, Michelle loves to find the humor in our humanness and use it as a way to propel forward! Michelle's clients have been able to create more meaningful careers, better relationships, and release limiting blocks and beliefs with her help. "When we change our thoughts and our focus we change our lives."
Michelle is the founder of www.drmichellecoaching.com