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A Wonderful Holiday Opportunity
By Sheri Rosenthal
Around holiday times we're presented with a most wonderful gift
- and that's the opportunity to look at ourselves though the eyes
of our family dynamics. Our siblings and parents act as mirrors
for us to see ourselves and our emotional reactions more clearly,
and observe where we have wounds, judgments, opinions, and emotions.
The holidays can be delightful no matter what personalities your
family contains! The only thing that can make your holidays traumatic
is your reaction to your family based on what you believe about
them and your unrealistic expectations about what a holiday should
I'd like to share with you a series of questions that will give
you a better understanding of your emotional state and beliefs regarding
your family. After all, this is the perfect time to recapitulate
how you feel about each of your siblings and your parents. In your
journal create a couple of separate pages for each family member.
- What is it about each of those people do you judge to be inappropriate
behavior on their part?
- What behaviors or actions push your buttons?
- The judgment that you have towards your siblings, does it remind
you of how one of your parents judges?
- Is the way that you behave the right way as opposed to the way
your siblings or parents act? Is your answer really the truth?
- How is your judgment interfering with your ability to love your
- Can you love unconditionally if you maintain judgment toward
your family members?
- Why are you denying yourself the experience of loving your family
in favor of your judgments?
- Are your judgments that important? Are they actually "right"?
Our need to be right and make others wrong prevents us from having
compassion and respect for our family members. If we could detach
from our personal point of view about our family, we'd be able to
see them as they are, simply as humans that have their own issues,
pain, and sadness. Isn't your father, even if he is still nasty
and harsh, just an old man suffering from the pain of life's events?
Isn't your mom, even if she's still controlling and opinionated
regarding your life, an old woman just trying to deal with her disappointment
with what life's dealt her? How can you not have compassion for
them? Are you so self-centered that you cannot let go of your opinions
and love them just the way they are?
These are very powerful questions. I encourage you to end your
year by doing a recapitulation of how you perceive and judge your
family. It's a worthwhile endeavor and you never know what will
come up for you. You might be quite surprised at what you find!
Sheri Rosenthal DPM is a master Toltec teacher and author of The
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Toltec Wisdom. Having trained
with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The
Four Agreements, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys,
works with personal apprentices and enjoys being extremely happy.
You can reach her at email@example.com