How to survive when reality meets our fantasy.
Christmas season is a wonderful time of year for the most part. Being a Christian, Jesus is my reason for the season which means choir practices, church, holiday charity, gift giving, and much more. For me, it holds everything together. I feel a spirit of giving in the cool crispy winter air. I focus on the greatest gift that was giving for my salvation. It is more important to give to strangers than buy for myself. However, it is also a very hard holiday for many people.
Family friction, miscommunication, misperceptions, and mental illness can turn a disagreement into something so much bigger. Some turn to self-medicating with food or drink, others run away into their phones or books and some love to explode making a spectacular scene. I’ve done every single one of these. Some holidays I have spent alone due to people working or previously being single. Many times I’ve spent the day watching movies or cleaning my space. However, some years I’ve been at odds with people.
So how can we recover the meaning of this holiday and not fall into a holiday downward spiral?
Go to your corners
Like any good fight, sometimes the best thing to do is go back to your space, breathe, drink some water, and re-access the situation. What we think might not be what others meant to do or say. Many times people are coming down from a lot of stress at home or at work. We all have bills to pay and the credit card will be a little higher come next month. There is also so much pressure to come together in peace. With all of these things going one, people often let their mouth filters down and just let it go. Feelings get hurt, emotions run away and the next thing we do is find comfort in that pumpkin pie.
I taught second shift at a daycare for a year and a half back in college to children who came from homes where parents needed to work second or third shift. Many of the kids would be tired late at night, their need for their parents was so huge, and there were occasions where the kids would just go at each other verbally and physically. We as teachers were taught not raise our voices, but count to 10 and breathe, separate the kids, and talk to them about the situation. One time we had to put a young man into the play room where there were a lot of foam toys. He spent about 30 minutes yelling and throwing things, but afterwards he was calm and could face the situation without over reacting.
Don’t make it worse
We cannot speak for another person, but we can shut our mouths and listen even when we are hurt or feel we are right. Two people will always have a different opinion. Arguments happen. Before saying words that you may later regret, use your mouth filter and see if it will help or harm the situation. Maybe even speaking kindness and love can be seen as fuel for the fire.
Each situation is different so approach it as such. Hitting below the belt or drudging up past arguments that were resolved is not okay and should never be used to back up your opinion. Know your limits and respect the other people enough to walk away if you need to.
Open hearts and open minds can save the day
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” Ephesians 4:26
That is what I try to strive towards. Having lived in an area where saying “Goodbye” could very well be permanent, I appreciate the value of resolving a disagreement as soon as possible. Sometimes the wounds are too deep or they are not yours to heal. Recognizing the difference is vital to healing your own heart.
Try to see things from the other person’s perspective, listen to your gut instincts, and understand that even the best conclusion can be harmful to someone. If you live your life treating others as you would yourself, even the most broken of situation can heal.
As I’ve talked about in my previous blog on SAD, mental illness changes everything. What may be rational, isn’t. What seems to be resolved, could open Pandora’s Box. Recognize other people’s triggers and do your best to avoid them. Sometimes speaking in love will leave that person in tears. That is when professional help is required and there are many great resources for this I highly recommend.
I hope you had a wonderful amazing loving caring blessed Christmas! If it wasn’t so fantastic, I pray this helped you heal. God is amazing and can turn any situation around in love and joy. Bless you and see you next week!