What’s your pandemic Thanksgiving dilemma?
Maybe you’re deciding what smaller version of a holiday you’ll have, or whether you’ll move some things onto Zoom, or do something else completely.
Maybe you already felt torn about this holiday anyway and this year actually resolves an earlier dilemma.
Whatever your particular version is, there are still family dynamics: patterns we find ourselves in that we don’t enjoy and can’t seem to find a graceful exit out of.
This came up in a group I was leading last week. Several people just didn’t like the plan that was shaping up for their Thanksgiving.
Even with social distancing, the same old disconnections seemed inevitable.
Sound familiar? Try this:
When you find yourself consistently in a situation that doesn’t work for you, or where someone’s behavior is bothering you (like a family zoom call where just a few people talk over each other and everyone else just listens) you can ask yourself:
How can I create a context that works for me?
What would I enjoy doing with this person/this group that I can invite them into, instead of continuing to agree to a context that doesn’t work for me?
For example, if your partner wants you to join their family zoom call, what about brainstorming something that the two of you would enjoy inviting their family to do with you, like playing a particular game, or doing a talk-through of a play?
If you started from scratch, what would you enjoy doing? So much of what’s hard about the holidays is doing things that we already know we don’t want to do. We’ve just never stopped to think about what we DO want, or actually given ourselves a choice.
Sometimes love looks like offering our loved ones a clear way we would ENJOY engaging with them, instead of agreeing to something that won’t serve our connection with them.
Of course, if there’s nothing you would enjoy doing with someone (like if you’ve experienced a lot of trauma in your family), you are not the only one, and not doing anything with your family may be the most caring choice. I wish you so much gentleness going into this time. None of us got to choose what family we came into. None of us gets to control how much capacity our family had to care for us when we needed it as little ones (or as grown-ups).
Whatever this week holds for you, whether you connect with family or not, may you be nourished.
With love and gratitude,