My four-year-old niece is not a big fan of sharing. So a few Saturdays ago while on a special outing, I knew that she wouldn’t want to part with a few of her French fries. In preparation, I bought my own.
As we drove up to the house, I stuffed my empty carton into a brown paper bag. My niece handed me hers and without a second thought I discarded it. Suddenly, she piped up with a little something in her voice that told me she was offended “I thought we were sharing.” I turned around and said, “So does that mean you left some for me?” “Yes!” she replied enthusiastically. I fished through the paper bag sitting on my passenger seat and pulled out her carton. It contained the small remnants of about three potatoes, formerly known as French fries. I looked back at her over my shoulder and asked, “Really???”
I took a picture of those remnants and sent a text to her parents. We all had a good laugh, but honestly it reminded me of some of my relationships. There have been times when people gave me the scraps of their time and emotions, thinking that their standards should determine my expectations. Or, others when people were so consumed with their issues or brokenness that they assumed I should just fall in line and not challenge them to grow.
I was always making excuses for them and was simply happy for the moment when they decided they wanted to connect. I didn’t realize it, but more than having relationships…I simply had habits—a habit of being with this person or that one, regardless of the quality of the relationship. I’ve found that the holidays can magnify the hollowness of relationships that thrive on habit, not connection. We feel pressured and torn by family and social obligations. The “ought to” against the “want to” is a constant holiday struggle.
Here are some questions to help you decide how and where to spend your time over the holidays:
1. Do They Supersize or Deplete You? There are some people whose presence empowers you and others who bring you down. Before you spend extensive time with anyone, make sure that they deposit good things into your spirit. Even when we are having difficult conversations, the right people fuel us to our best selves. Emotional intelligence and self-care require that we are actively aware of how people influence us. Sometimes, people are triggers and we need to be aware of our response.
2. What Can I Realistically Expect? Our imagination has the power to turn our holidays into a nightmare or a fairy tale—way before they even begin. Do yourself a favor—get mentally prepared to be in the right space. We pretty much know who is going to do and say what each holiday. Don’t make things better or worse in your mind…accept what is and determine what you can do to have the best experience.
3. Who Can Help Me Most? Sometimes it is best to not say “no.” During those times, surround yourself with people who can help you create a positive environment, even in the worst places. Bring reinforcements with you whenever you can. Difficult in-laws and other sticky family situations can be more easily navigated with people who “get” and support you around.
Do Your Work! Identify your usual holiday relationship hurdles and develop a strategy to address those issues!
Define Your Wealth! “I love myself and spend time where I am valued!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Executive Coach who empowers her clients to “Turn their Worth into Wealth” as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO their WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make!” seminar MP3 at www.coachfelicia.com!