It’s a mad dash towards the winter holidays and the end of the year!
Are you spending time with family? If so, read on. If not you can skip this one.
For most humans seeing family for any length of time means dealing with lots of difficult family dynamics. Your buttons are probably going to get pushed. Ok they will definitely get pushed, let’s be honest.
Here’s the thing that aunt or parent that always drives you bananas is actually reflecting back to you how you feel about yourself.
If “they” are making you feel badly about still working for a company you dislike or “they” make you feel badly about your hoarding tendencies, your weight, your finances or your coffee/tv/wine habit etc. The Question to ask, isn’t “Why are they always so judgmental and rude?”. But rather what part of me feels badly about my own hoarding tendencies, or badly about the state of my finances or my struggle with weight issues.
Shine the light of your awareness on the places that get triggered and bring the soothing salve of compassion to what you find. This is not an exercise in self judgment or self criticism but a good time to align with reality. Even if that reality is unpleasant.
Your triggers highlight the incongruencies in your actions in relationship to our best self. They are clues and should be seen as gifts on the path of awakening and accepting. Gifts that over time, allow us to pivot and choose a better option, choose again, again and again until over time it becomes our new pattern.
Resisting and suppressing the emotions that get triggered on the other hand is a lose-lose but unfortunately this is usually how most people handle family issues and the difficult emotions that come with them. If those emotions aren’t met in some way, than you can bet that they’re at work behind the scenes leaving us to do crazy stuff, like over-eat, fly off the handle and/or drink way too much, which again leaves us with feelings of guilt, shame and blame the next day. Blah!
When your buttons get pushed here’s what to do instead:
- Feel the emotion, sit with it for 90 seconds without doing anything but feel it
- Notice where you feel it in your body
- Are you feeling reactive over the comment or contracted?
- Ask yourself “What inside me feels badly about this too?” or “What am I avoiding within here?”
- Hold what you find like a good friend, no judgment at all, consider shifting the pattern by working with a coach or get counsel around it from another trusted source.
Here is an InnerYoga mantra that I use when I’m about to spend long stretches of time with relatives, my hope is that you add the mantra below and these tips to your toolbelt and call upon them as needed.
“May I show up as my best self and my I respond from there, even if nobody else does.”