Christmastime is “supposed” to be full of colored flashing lights, full of pleasant smelling Christmas cookies, and full of noisiness- coming from unraveling bags filled with gifts you plan to wrap. Yet, there’s a cringe in your stomach, and thoughts start racing when your significant other reminds you to buy the plane tickets home to be with the family. Ugh! It’s the first holiday away from your own loved ones, and worry sets in about spending the first holiday with them. It’s like “Meet the Parents” all over again, but the Holiday Edition. Unsettling feelings of nervousness set in. Am I going to say the right things? Am I going to fit in with everybody? Do they have that one annoying family member that gets on everybody’s nerves? Feelings of stubbornness arise. I don’t feel like trying to impress anybody. I don’t feel the need to prove myself all over again. I’m here to stay; they can’t try to scare me off. Feelings of guilt emerge-I love my partner. I shouldn’t feel this way. If they knew what I was thinking, I would have a gravestone written with my name on it.
Anxiety, guilt, and pride are at the forefront. What should you do with these emotions?
Sit with them? Suppress them? Talk about them?
How are you used to communicating these feelings to your partner?
Do you roll with the punches, and let things come to a head? Do you fear discussing it because it might make your partner upset? Or, would you rather press on? (It’s not a big deal; I’m over-exaggerating.)
Suppress vs. Manage
Suppressing how you feel can lead to resentment towards your partner later-on because those feelings weren’t expressed initially. Yet, they should have.. Managing means to acknowledge to yourself how you feel, and then communicating that to you partner, assertively (Assertive=direct, open, honest, and appropriately without “ruffling feathers”). This allows you to get the point across in a comfortable atmosphere, and still be respectful of others’ feelings and thoughts in the process.
Tolerate vs. Acceptance
Tolerating is allowing things to happen in-light of that other person’s feelings. It means, not wanting to face the consequences if you respond how you genuinely desire. (Not wanting to step on toes.) Acceptance is being in a settling space within yourself regarding the situation. You have an inner peace, and you embrace the moment.
What does managing and accepting look like for the holidays? You take that anger, guilt, and pride, and lay it on the table. Feelings should be shared with your partner, with hope for their understanding. It means accepting that going to their house for the holidays is inevitable, but also pleasing for them. It’s a way to build the relationship.
Goal: Manage and Accept. Then, it will “begin to look a lot like Christmas.”