Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Word About Relationships and the Holidays

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! My celebrations with my family and Harrington’s family were great! There was lots of good food and fun to be had by all.

Even though it was great, I did start thinking about why this time of year can be kind of depressing . . . especially when it comes to relationships.

During the year, I think it’s easier to ignore how relationships really are and easier to project how we want them to be. Even though we may get clues and red flags all year long, it’s much simpler to look the other way.

But when it comes to The Holiday Season, it becomes glaringly obvious how the relationships really are.

Sometimes that is awesome. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and cozy inside. I feel just plain fortunate to have such incredible people in my life.

And sometimes it hurts. Because various relationships that I put time and energy in all year? Are draining me dry.

The Picture Perfect Holiday quickly becomes I Want to Drown My Disappointment in Pomegranate Cocktails and Christmas Cookies Holiday.

As much fun as the Pomegranate Cocktail and Christmas Cookie Holiday can be, I often feel blurry and bloated and just plain sad. So I have decided to take a different approach this year.

Instead of projecting my ideals on certain relationships and feeling crushed when they are not mutual, I have decided to accept them for what they are . . . and let go. Not of the people, but of the hope that things will be different.

I am thinking if I let go, I will clear a space for some real deals instead of settling on some imposters. Kind of like hoarders, it’s hard to make sense of everything and cherish what is valuable if you have a bunch of clutter to cloud your judgment.

And not that I expect a Picture Perfect Holiday, but I will gladly take a Happy Holiday.

So, Friends, what are you doing to keep you spirits up this Holiday Season?


Annie said...

This is wonderfully expressed. Most people (myself included) would discuss this as the 'drama' that can arise during the holidays, but your description is much more accurate...and a little easier to swallow. Well, I guess it is hard to swallow at first, but you only have to swallow this level of understanding ONE TIME, rather than continue to deal with hurtful family gatherings each year. It that makes sense? In any event, thanks for this post. :)

Fiorella said...

Wise! Someone once told me I would hit 40 and stop feeling the need to do things because of a sense of OBLIGATION. Well, I'll be 40 in two months, and in just the past couple of weeks, I said "no" to three things I normally would have done out of a sense of obligation. I haven't gotten good at it yet, becuase I still feel guilty for saying no. But eventually, the guilt will wear thin and a happier, lighter me will emerge on the other side. Why do I mention this here? Because when you wrote of relationships where you feel as though you put in a maxium of effort, that reminds me of some of my relationships that aren't "easy" but in which I put forth so much effort because of the other party's neediness. I can't promise I won't backslide, but I am going to do better at clearing out some of the stuff I just don't want to do out of my life!

Anonymous said...

So well put! I learned at an early age to clear "cluttered" relationships out of my life...honestly as a means of emotional survival.

Fiorella - I'm in my 50s and it really does happen! And the guilt goes away. I read an article in a science magazine that addressed how hormone changes bring a woman from a "nurturing" focus to a "what about me?" focus so I like the think of it as a natural change I should embrace!

Another great post!

Aunt Diane

Anonymous said...

We have it pretty good. We had to deal with one person for the past 7 days, but now it is over. We just try to get through it as painlessly as possible.

Fiorella said...

Ooh, Aunt Diane, thank you for that tidbit! I feel so much better with the idea that a moderate amount of self centeredness in my age group is biological! I wonder if I can make that work for me with my husband...!

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Annie, that's a really positive way to look at it. Because I really struggle with this. But if I look at it just as once, it might be easier.

Aunt Diane, that sounds like a fascinating study! And awesome that you did what you had to do to take care of yourself.

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

The Girl, 7 days?! That could seem like an eternity! Any tips to make it painless?

Anonymous said...

Oh Oh OH, I love this! You said it exactly right, which is amazing considering how often people try to articulate what it is exactly that makes the holidays so bittersweet. But you are right. And I agree. It is time, finally, to let some of those expectations go. And to be okay with it.
This was just what I needed to hear these days. Thank you, thank you.

Amy said...

I have decided to spend the Christmas holiday with only my husband and son. On Christmas eve we'll get together with my in laws so the kids can open gifts. But Christmas morning is all ours.

My family is just...too stressful to even throw into the mix. Like you, I have let go of letting this fact make me feel bad. It is what it is.

Have a wonderful Christmas honey:)

Anonymous said...

This is beautifully expressed. I keep reminding myself that all my relationships out there in the world are really about my relationship with myself.

I love the idea of not trying to change anyone, just accepting where they are. I have one problematic relationship in particular and I am accepting that it is what it is and I can send positive energy to both of us.