The Holidays... Don't Take It Personally
I spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family. And although I am nuts about them, during certain situations I needed to remind myself, "Don't take it personally."
Much of the conversation seemed immaterial. Some were arguing about how a 20-year argument had started, who forgot what, etc. Others were 'walking on eggshells' around others to avoid this same type of argument. Even though there was still tension in the room -- regarding things that happened 20 or 30 years ago -- it's hard not to get caught up in the swirls and flows of this energy.
But after all is said and done, it really is irrelevant. So, why is it so easy to fall down that pit of negative excitement?
Well, for one, all the sisters have grown and moved away. Therefore, the family unit doesn’t have any "present" stories in common. The conversation probably continually swings to our past because we do have that in common. On the other hand, our mother's memory of events rarely matched our memory (and visa-versa). And it's not that her memory is failing. It's merely the fact that she was experiencing the incident as an adult and we were experiencing the event as children. It's natural that things registered differently.
For example: At age 5 we were dropped off at school 15 minutes late every day. Although we tried to tell her that we were late and therefore were punished every day, it did not really register with her. To this day, she will argue with us that we never told her that we were late. She is positive that we never told her that school started at 8:15 a.m., not 8:30 a.m.
I agree. At 5, we probably did not use the grown-up words: "Mom, school starts at 8:15 a.m. You have been dropping us off at 8:30 a.m. Therefore, we have been 15 minutes late every day. And whenever we are tardy, we are punished, which means that we are punished every day."
Our vocabulary at 5 years of age probably went more like: "When we arrive, the school bell has already rung and all the kids are already in the building. The teacher is always mad at us and keeps us in at recess. We are not allowed to play with the other kids." Very ambiguous language, indeed.
So, in one respect, everyone was right. We were telling our parents (in the best way we could express ourselves at that time) that we were late for school. One the other hand, we probably never said the words: "School starts at 8:15 a.m. and we arrive at 8:30 a.m."
Bottom line: None of this even matters today. So, try not to take anything said during the holidays personally. We're all remembering the incidents very differently from when they actually happened.
:: Laura Rose is a featured blogger for HelloRaleigh.com. For more from her, visit Rose Coaching. ::
Posted on February 3, 2012 by Laura Rose