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Have to do Christmas with someone you don't like; who says?

Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is coming ever closer. The dread begins in your stomach. It feels like you have eaten stones. You keep reassuring yourself that it will not be so bad this year. Maybe Uncle Joe will not get drunk or you won’t feel like an outsider in your own family. It is two weeks before Christmas and your anxiety level is so high already. What would it be like the day of Christmas?

Happy Holidays from me to you.
Cristi Habermann

The first question that comes to mind when hearing these feelings is “Why go?” The answer is invariably the same because it is expected or because it is family. The second question is “who says?” This is the stumper question. The person might sit there a few minutes thinking before they answer. They may have an answer after thinking about it or not. The answer is not important. The important part of this question is that it forces the person to examine their beliefs, and their own behavior. This is an example of deep seated beliefs that can cause a person to act in certain ways over and over again in spite of the painful consequences. This is very common. Very rarely do people stop and ask themselves the “why” they do things. Even more importantly is the “who says”.

Once the person determines what the belief is, and where the belief comes from then they can begin to work with this belief. Jumping back into our story this person has high anxiety, and dread about attending Christmas activities with the family. The “why go” question has been answered and so has the “why” question been answered. Now what??

Once the process of questioning oneself about “who says” begins, it is difficult to stop. The person starts to realize that the decisions they are making about attending the Christmas events can be changed . They start to realize that they had been following a belief that had been handed down to them. This is important because once the process of ownership has begun the person can begin to make choices about what they chose to believe in.

On paper it seems like an easy task in reality it is much more difficult. The person if they chose to attend all or a portion of the event will have to stand up to family pressure to be the same. Some feelings may be hurt in the process of changing the belief. This is where most people get stuck. They want to change, but they don’t want to hurt any feelings in the process. There is no way around it because different people react to change in different ways.

What many people fail to realize that in not changing someone is hurt in the process, and usually it is themselves. In this holiday season ask yourself “the why” “the who says”, and ask yourself how can this be changed so I will be hurt less through the holidays.

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