Happy Thanksgiving? Make it happy.
It’s officially the holiday season. The weather is cold. It’s a short work week for most. Kids are home from college. The world is wonderful. Many are on their way right now to visit friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Norman Rockwell depicts this time of year with smiling faces as the family gathers around the table for the feast.
Why is it that when your family and friends gather, you can’t ever seem to get to the place depicted in the art of Norman Rockwell during the holidays? Everyone gathered around the table, smiling and full of happiness and joy. Is this ever going to be a reality?
Truth be told, I think every one of us yearns for the happy family scene, but we know it never will be. For some of us, we hear the music from the Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch was riding her bike with Toto in the basket as our relatives are heading our way. We want to be excited and happy to get everyone together, but we know it will never be the way we imagine it to be. The romance of celebrating holidays with family and friends seems to overshadow the reality that we tend to forget until the next year when history repeats itself. It’s like ignoring the bad stuff and holding on to the hopes and dreams of a glorious holiday.
The young mother who is trying to duplicate the way her mom served up Thanksgiving is under stress as she doesn’t want to let mom down. For the week before she was cleaning her house with a toothbrush and hoping to make everything perfect; because the young mother believes her mom has this expectation. What if Uncle Joe shows up and starts drinking heavily again, turning the day into a disaster. Will there be fighting again this year? There is the family member who tends to take over and make the entire day about him. What if your son brings that girl you cannot stand to be with your family on your holiday? The complication possibilities are endless! How can this be a good day?
The romance of celebrating holidays with family and friends seems to overshadow the reality that we tend to forget until the next year when history repeats itself.
To add to your holiday recipe box, I would like to offer up a recipe for Thanksgiving that perhaps you’ve never tried before. If you add these ingredients to your holiday, I personally guarantee it will change the outcome and how you feel. Isn’t that worth a try?
What is this magic ingredient you ask? Simply put, let go of all of your expectations. When you expect humans to be or do or act in a certain way, you will always be let down. Every single time. We are all unique individuals. How about you let me do me, and you do you? When we do this, we will never be let down! When you start using this formula, it takes a little thinking, but when you work on it and understand how it happens, it becomes clear and easy.
For instance… your child is home from college, and you can’t wait until the family gathers, but your child informs you they are taking off with friends instead. Yes, you can try to talk them out of it, scream, cry, whatever it takes to see if you can control their behavior. What letting go means is you simply love the child. You give them a hug and a kiss and wish them a beautiful day as they head out for their adventures.
When you expect humans to be or do or act in a certain way, you will always be let down.
If that crazy aunt is coming and you’ve always freaked out because you know she will take the white glove to your shelves and will rearrange the table settings because you never get it right… when she arrives, give her a hug, grab a big glass of wine and don’t even look at what she is doing. Her issues are just that – her issues. Let it go. She has to live with herself every day. You only get to love her for a few hours. Don’t let her get under your skin. Why would you?
When we start to wrap our brains around the fact that we cannot control others, and that they cannot control us, we can start letting go of the need and the hope to change anyone else’s behavior. When we realize our letting go of expectations about how others should be and what they should do gives us immense freedom, it creates an inner peace only found when you can begin to let go.
Let go of all expectations about how you want your day to turn out. Just feel love for every person you see as they enter your space, or as you enter theirs. Be yourself and don’t let anything or anyone change the fact that you want to just “be” today and to love the ones you have chosen to surround yourself with.
Remember, who you choose to spend your holidays with is just that, a choice. If they are people who affect you negatively and you are unable to change how you react, change where you spend your time. You don’t have to do what anyone wants you to do – ever. Spend your days with the people who can lift you to a better place rather than push you down where you feel you have lost control.
Remember, who you choose to spend your holidays with is just that, a choice.
Just be happy today and for every holiday. Just choose to allow and have no expectations about what anyone is supposed to do. In the big scheme of things, the only one you ever have control or power over …. Is you!
Happy Holidays? It’s a choice. Make them happy!