Find The Joy

Many of us this week will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday which means some of us will be thrust into family dynamics and situations which may be stressful. For some, the holidays bring lots of anxiety and conjure up long-buried feelings of resentment, jealousy, anger and downright meanness.

Family dynamics are tricky. The holidays often compound those dynamics which can make the Thanksgiving table feel as if it were built atop a powder keg where at any moment a flippant comment might ignite the whole darn thing.

So what can you do?

Come prepared to not participate. Sort of like that extra slice of the pumpkin pie, simply say, “No! Not this year.”

Make a commitment to yourself that you refuse to participate. Refuse to participate in the drama. Refuse to let your sibling get under your skin and bait you into old arguments and old feelings. Siblings sometimes struggle to communicate with one another so give them a break and show them a different way. Refuse to let your Mom’s stress be your own. After all, you didn’t invite all these people over to your house right? Refuse to roll your eyes as Grandpa pines on and on about a story you’ve heard a hundred times. He won’t always be here.

Refuse to be anything but joyful. I know that’s a stretch but let me explain.

Your family might be a trainwreck, I know many that are. But what if you look at that trainwreck differently? I mean it’s YOUR trainwreck right? What if you can accept it for all the crazy perfect imperfections that it has. How differently might your perspective and your holiday experience change?

My brother-in-law has a great saying that I think is kind of perfect: “You can pick your nose,  you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.” You are stuck with your family with all their quirks, issues and craziness. So rather than wishing they were some idyllic version of a Norman Rockwell painting, why not accept them for who they are and just roll with it? Rather than get angry about it, accept it, maybe even let yourself enjoy it and I bet you’ll find the entire experience will be different and dare I say, better.

Here’s the thing. The holidays come along only once a year. Take this year’s journey with a new approach. Don’t allow the feelings of the past rule your present. Perhaps if you come to the Thanksgiving table with a new perspective and resolute commitment to be the example of change – in attitude, reaction and just general presence, others at the table might just be inspired to follow. If not, that’s okay, you can still be thankful along while being hopeful.

Now it might not be a Christmas miracle but it just might be a Thanksgiving Ripple that forever changes your family dynamics. I’ve actually seen it happen firsthand and know that it’s possible.

Find the joy in the simple fact you made it another year and you get to spend it with the people you call family – broken, crazy and imperfect as they might be. If you allow yourself to approach things differently you may just find the whole darn experience Rippling back to you in a completely different way this Thanksgiving. If not, there’s at least football and boy oh boy do my Dallas Cowboys need your support this Thanksgiving.

What do you have to lose? Just find the joy in the experience and see what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving…and as always, Ripple On!!!


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