It was easily the most difficult Thanksgiving weekend I have ever experienced.
The angst of it still sits with me a little, 4 days later.
Honestly, I was genuinely excited about getting together, opening my home and sharing the day with family. Somehow, though the excitement waned and disappointment set in.
I could list each offense spoken. I could share about what I saw as lack of responsibility and respect and regard for one another and property. I could talk of exhaustion and little emotional reserve. I could share the backdrop of every situation as they piled on top of the other. There could be a telling of what sometimes felt like jabs and punches. My own fibromyalgia could be a topic as well as how everyone else was physically feeling. We could throw in the drama of he said, she said, too.
However, at the end of the day, all those circumstances are just that…circumstances.
I was left with a bundle of emotions…sadness, frustration, irritation, disappointment, disregarded, unsettled, weary, overwhelm, guarded, perplexed and honestly, I was angry.
As an introvert if I could have I would have totally withdrawn to my bedroom to be alone to process, to refuel and maybe to simply hide. Solitude is where I renew, but I honestly wanted to be in the mix and enjoy my family, too.
So, what to do with all that negative emotion? Well, if I have learned one beautiful thing from the life coach world, it is this “The circumstance does not cause me to feel anything.”
What I am thinking about the circumstance is what takes me down the emotion trail, whether positive or negative. So, what do I do with all the emotion I am feeling? Figure out what I am thinking.
I had a pile of feelings to sift through.
The path of least resistance would be to shove them all in a container and toss them in the corner somewhere. Eventually, though the top is going to pop open and they are all going to spill out everywhere. I was going to have to allow myself to feel what I was feeling, but it felt like TOO MUCH! I reminded myself that I had felt every single one of those emotions before and hadn’t actually died from feeling any of them.
When I began to ask myself the simple question, “What was I thinking?” it felt like a jumbled mess.
The issue this time was, however, I was feeling so many different emotions, that I was also thinking a plethora of thoughts. Even if they were related I needed to move slowly and process them one at a time.
First, though, I would have to let myself feel what was there and begin to name each one of them.
If I don’t feel them, I can’t change them.
Grace and space was my next step.
I gave myself (and still am) both grace and space to coach myself and figure it out.
One by one, I named the emotions (some of which you see above) and asked myself, “What was I thinking when I felt that?” It is going to take some time, but I am also willing to take responsibility for those feelings.
Can I set some parameters and boundaries for certain situations and the people in them? Absolutely!
Sometimes, I just want the other person to change, though. Do you find that true for you, too?
Am I going to get them to change because of my boundary? Not likely, but I can take care of my own emotional cup by setting (and keeping) the boundary.
The holidays can certainly be another growth opportunity as we navigate our feelings. Do you have pile of emotions you find yourself sifting through? Leave me a comment. Let’s chat about it.