How to Use Holiday Family Get-Togethers to Become a “Better” Person

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Are you looking forward with excited anticipation to see the relatives this holiday season?


Well, if not, here is a way to use the experiences to make you a “better” person.

A “Better” Person?

You might wonder what I mean when I say, “better” person because that’s a pretty judgy thing to say, I’ll admit. But, what I mean is that by using the experiences to practice your mindfulness skills, you will be building the brain connections that improve your patience, wisdom, empathy, compassion, and self-acceptance, among others. Who doesn’t want to get better at those things?

Holiday Family Get-Togethers Mindfulness Practice

Let’s say you hate visiting your parents or in-laws. As a result, you dread spending the weekend, the day, or let’s face it, just four hours with them.

The way to make this dreadful experience useful is to notice your experience as it’s happening. Notice it rather than fighting the feelings you are having or acting on them willy-nilly.

If you feel irritated, annoyed, or frustrated; simply notice the sensations of those feelings. Then notice where they are in your body and how they sit inside of you. All the while, notice if you can keep breathing through those feelings. Are you feeling a desire to scream or throw something? Do not DO any of these things. Simply notice the sensations, feelings, and desires.

As you engage in the exercise, you will be detaching yourself from the experience a tiny bit.  And therefore, giving yourself more of a chance to control what you do with your body in response to the negative stimuli around you and coming at you. Slowly but surely, it will build characteristics that make you a “better” person.

Now Let it Go

Once you’ve gotten through this, it’s really important to let go of the negative build-up you’ve been noticing and containing. This can be very difficult, because it’s the part no one ever taught us to do, or how to do. As a result, it’s the part that makes you feel stupid. And that’s because you don’t want to admit that someone got the better of you. Or perhaps, you don’t want them to affect you at all.

Whatever the reason, if you’ve swallowed poison, you need to throw it up. Keeping it inside will eat you alive. Eventually, there will come a day when the interactions won’t affect you anymore if you keep practicing mindfulness. But until then, you need to get it out of yourself.

To do this, you’re going to need somewhere private. You need to say or yell all the things you didn’t say. Express the movements with your arms and legs that you held back. Let yourself “go crazy,” as long as you don’t hurt yourself, anyone else, or any property.

No one has to see this. But it needs to be done. For your well-being and for the exercise to work as effectively as possible. Get the poison out.

Next Step

The next step in using holiday family get-togethers to be “better” is allowing yourself to explore why the things that triggered you did so. Dig deeply into why the words or actions of someone got to you. Explore what’s under your angry reaction and how that might relate to other parts of your life.

In conclusion, remember, it’s all about noticing and thereby building strong connections between different parts of your brain. A well-connected brain leads to being “better,” overall. And that’s what we’re after. Why not use the holiday family get-togethers to sharpen your skills? If you can’t get out of it, you might as well use it to your advantage, right?

Want to work on building your capacity to be a “better” person?

Call me, we’ll talk.

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