Hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near?!?!? Not in my family!! This doesn't seem to be the year that this is the scene for our Merry Christmas. I am sure that by now we have all come to the realization that no one's family is normal. So how do you, and I in particular, deal with those idiosyncrasies at this time of the year. I've decided that "Normal" is a relative term. Do I sit and let this raw emotions control how I will celebrate with my immediate family that means the most to me or am I supposed to be a "big girl" and move on in life. It's pretty hard to move on in life when you feel as if you've been ambushed and don't know where things went wrong and you have no way of fixing them. Sometimes people want things to be the way they are no matter what the outcome.
So I am trying to apply the following things and know that this is a constant struggle for me EVERYDAY. I am not perfect in anyone's eyes and I have never claimed to be. So this is how I will be TRYING to deal with these issues.
1. I need to normalize my expectations. I need to realize that our family is messed up, but so is everyone else's. Mixed feelings, resentment, and emotional baggage are typical issues of all families.
2. Accept my lot. Extended families idiosyncrasies aren't intended to make my life miserable even though it may feel that way. Even though I may disagree, I need to have compassion. Acceptance takes friction away, or at least most of it.
3. Practice proven coping techniques. I can't pick my relatives and I can't change them either. The only thing I can control is my reaction to behaviors that drive me crazy. The more I pick up that rope, the more I fuel a situation. There are times I want to YANK that rope so hard and prove that someone else is wrong but it doesn't work. It only makes things harder.
4. Avoid embarassment. The less I say the better. Someone else's actions are not a reflection of me.
5. Help myself through humor. If I wasn't laughing most times I would be crying. Silent humor is a great tension release that helps me feel adult and powerful rather than trapped and powerless.
There you have it. What I consider to be CRAP and almost impossible to accomplish. Even though I know it may be the hardest thing to do, I know that this is best thing for the situation. I am sure through this process I am going to learn a lot of things about myself and most importantly to stop worrying about what others think or feel. It is very important to take others' feelings and emotions into consideration but when it comes to the expense of your own you have to pray and do what God tells you. I just have to know in my heart that the things I am doing are right with me and God. That is ultimately who I have to answer to and no one else.
Pray for me in this situation and hope that this is a Merry Christmas with or without loved ones.