FAMILIES & COMMUNICATION – CHRISTMAS
So Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve noticed quite a lot of mixed reactions from people when the topic comes up. For the most part, everyone seems stressed about the idea that it’s so close.
I have to confess, I just don’t get it. I think Christmas has become an incredibly commercialised and this has added more pressure to people. The actual meaning of Christmas had tended to gotten lost and it has become a day of over indulgence with food and drink. A ridiculous amount of money is spent on gifts that often cannot be afforded and this quite often places pressure on the family or individual. It appears on the surface that quite often presents are not always given graciously or for that matter received graciously and that it comes from a sense of obligation and duty.
So why do we keep doing this and why has it become this way?
I don’t have an answer, I can only go by my observations & experiences. I actually didn’t grow up with Christmas, as it wasn’t part of my religious background. I celebrated my first Christmas when I was in my mid 20’s. I admit I was very excited to get my first Christmas tree and decorate it and then to go and spend my first Christmas with the family my brother had married into. I asked what happened and was relieved to find out that we didn’t have to sing Christmas carols!
So the years rolled by and it was always last minute where Christmas was going to be held and I was often frustrated at the gift giving which to me felt like it came from a place of obligation and often not a lot of thought appeared to go into gifts. Trust me, I got some dud presents…..it does make me question how we behave at this time of year and why.
I’m sure everyone has a “Christmas incident” where something didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped. Like an uncle got blind drunk & took his pants off, or where something was said in a heated moment and then it’s swept under the table and never raised again.
We tend to follow a tradition but no-one often really knows why it’s the way it is. It reminds me of a story where a woman would buy a leg of lamb & would cut the end off before roasting it. When she was asked why, she said that was what her mother did. When her mum was asked why she cooked it that way, she replied that was the way her mother had cooked it. Further investigation led to the reason being that the great-grandmother didn’t have a roasting pan big enough!
So clearly communication is key to not only a healthy and happy Christmas but to all relating with family and friends at all times of the year. Not leaving things unsaid because that can lead to all sorts of assumptions and misunderstandings.
It’s about taking responsibility for yourself and your feelings and how you react to someone with what they have said or done. So next time there is an “incident” where perhaps you feel angry or hurt, instead of reacting which is what we often automatically do, stop for a minute. Take a few deep breaths to centre yourself and then ask yourself why you are feeling that way. What is it that has made you react or feel the way that you are. When you are calm, then you can respond in a clear manner and you can express what you feel needs to be said. It’s about looking at the situation from a different perspective and looking at cause and effect and where you are in that situation and how you are in life in general.
When we get angry or upset we either tend to respond from a reactive space which is never a good place to come from or we do the opposite, we stuff down the emotion and don’t say anything, yet this still places a strain on the situation. It’s like you can feel it in the air, the things that are unsaid or not spoken, it’s like an energy that is just sitting there.
Sometimes it can help for a moment to put yourself in the other persons shoes and feel what it may be like for them and why they have responded in the manner they have. It sounds a little weird, but give it a go, you’d be surprised at what you see in that situation and then that gives you a clearer understanding of where they are coming from.
So getting back to Christmas being around the corner, take some time and stop for a moment and feel into it and what it means for you. See what emotions come up for you and look at why they are there and then take some action. Speaking up and being heard is important. So if you are celebrating Christmas set an intention. Be really clear with the intention that you want to connect with your family, have a lot of fun and celebrate life together with love and gratitude in your heart because if you go into it with obligation, duty and suffering you probably won’t have the best time.
Published in www.http://www.islandspa.com.au