The holiday season is here, which for many of you means more time with your family of origin. This time can be joyful, yet stressful, which can inspire a regression to dysfunctional family dynamics.
At a holiday gathering years ago, my Dad, who was fifty-one at the time, declared that he was retiring, packing it all up and moving to Florida with his long-term girlfriend.
Which to me, sounded like the worst idea ever.
My role in the family had been the fixer, and I thought his plan needed some fixing.
“Really?” I exclaimed. “What are you going to do in Florida? Wouldn’t it be more exciting if you guys flew to Europe, rented a Winnebago, and took a few years traveling and exploring?”
My father looked at me and said, “Maybe. But I just want to play golf and relax in a warm climate.”
I said, “Well, I just want you to be happy.”
He said, “I AM happy, Ter.”
In that moment, I realized I was projecting my desire onto my father. I needed to be supportive and accept his choice, as I expected him to do for me. My old role as the fixer was unnecessary because nothing was broken.
I had another opportunity to learn the lesson of acceptance when I got married.
Vic and I have very different ways of expressing ourselves. I am a talker with a need to be succinctly understood. I used to worry about Vic’s happiness because it didn’t look like happiness as I understood it, but when I asked him about it, he would calmly respond that he was really and truly happy. In time, I learned to accept Vic’s way of expressing himself as simply different than mine, not better or worse, just different.
As you move through this season, I invite you to practice more acceptance by actually listening without judgment or opinion.
If you can focus on what you love about the people in your life and release the need for them to be different, your holidays will be happier.
I am interested in your thoughts. Where in your life are you challenged by acceptance?
I hope you have a beautiful week of acceptance and joy, and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love