CPS Challenge reminder: Through the holiday season the challenge is to keep up with meditating/chanting/praying for peace at least once a week.
Sindy over at Blue Butterflies and Me set up a 12 Days of Christmas series, asking fellow bloggers to each make a post for one of the twelve days on topics like peace, love and gratitude. For several years I’ve been doing posts about learning to cope better with the holiday gatherings that are often stressful. Generally I’ve re-posted each year and added a new one. This time I thought I’d just summarize the basic ideas with links to the original posts. And to mention that my new book, Relating Heart to Heart: A Guide to Playing Well with Others, expands on these ideas.
First, get in touch with yourself. A huge proportion of the problems any of us have with others stem from our own unresolved issues and beliefs. The more you know about those issues and how you react because of them, the more you can choose to let go of those issues and react differently.
Second, know who people are and what they do. People are always going to be themselves. The biggest reason we’re ever disappointed by others is that we expect them to be someone else, behave in some way that would suit us better but that is out of character for them. If you know who someone is and how that person behaves you won’t be disappointed because you will know exactly what to expect and what they will and won’t do.
Third, don’t take anything your friends and loved ones say personally. Ninety-nine point nine percent of what others say and do has everything to do with them and whatever is going on in their minds and has nothing to do with you. They often mean something other than what you think and however mean or ill-willed they may seem it generally arises from their own hurts and sore spots and is not about you. Step back and let it move around you without impacting you.
Fourth, figure out whether you recognize love the way other people offer it. Most of us have some set expectations of what words say “I love you” and what actions mean love to us. But our loved ones usually have their own way of saying and doing and it frequently does not match those expectations. If you learn how they offer it instead of looking for it the way you want it, you may discover that you can feel the love billowing around you.
Fifth, after you’ve figured out who they are and how they love, can you love them anyway? In other words, can you set aside your wishes and expectations for something different and love the actual person in front of you? I think most of the time when you step back and really look you’ll find it easy. Occasionally you’ll discover that you can’t overlook some behaviors or live with who someone is and then you have some decisions to make.
The more you can learn these guidelines and practice them the easier time you’ll have in facing those not-so-easy relationships with which the holidays often confront you.