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Article by: Pegotty Cooper

Holidays bring out the best in others and the worst in others. Even if you feel like you are above all that, there is something about getting together with siblings or parents that takes us all back to our childhood. Not our young adulthood or our sage middle age or our wise golden years. It is often our inner child who is somewhere between 5 and 13 years old!

Whatever decisions drove our behavior at 5 years old shows up at family gatherings. Maybe it is wanting to look smart, to be competitive, to be bossy, to be the center of attention, to not be the center of attention, feeling like you don’t belong, or not wanting to be teased or laughed at or dominated by someone telling you what to do. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

If this is who is likely to show up on your behalf and be triggered by people that know so intimately how to push your hot buttons, I want you to pay attention just for a few minutes.

Pick one or two of these practices and work them morning, noon and night throughout the holidays. Integrate the essence of these practices into your DNA. Time with family and friends is so precious that you don’t want a five year old to ruin the opportunity to reconnect and remember shared experiences.

Adopt ways that allow yourself to be at your best, to honor the wisdom of your heart, mind and body.

  1. When you hear what you interpret as judgement, reframe it, whether it comes from another person or from your own internal advisers.
  2. Try on what you are hearing, and embrace new ideas with a curious mind.
  3. Connect with yourself and others through the heart and honor the essence of what is being conveyed.
  4. Speak from your own perspective, honoring you at your best as you learn new ways of being with others.
  5. Put your full attention on listening deeply to what the other person is sharing and to refrain from interrupting or formulating your response while the person is talking.
  6. Focus on the positive in yourself, in others, and to reflect that in how you engage with others.
  7. Be open to receiving acknowledgement and accept it as the gift it is intended to be, allowing it to sink in and acknowledging it with a heart-felt “Thank you”

Write down just two of these. Put it in your pocket. When you feel yourself getting tense or anxious, pull out these two practices and connect with the essence of these so you can shift gears and make it another opportunity to make wonderful memories!

Come back and share with me which practices you took on and what impact that had on your family gatherings during the holidays.

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the source from which I adapted this list of practices: Permission from Coach For Life and the Foundation for Inspired Learning

Pegotty Cooper, CDC®

I am your thinking partner.

We walk down the path together to see how we can make it all happen in the way that best serves the needs of you and your family.

  • Feeling alone and sometimes overwhelmed adds a lot of stress to an already stressful situation.
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