It is common in some households for the guests to bring something to the table for dinner, especially on Thanksgiving and the Holidays. Each family member and guest has a specialty, a favored recipe that enhances the feast. It is something unique and it is something special that the other guests look forward to with eager anticipation. It is part of the tradition of the holiday.
Likewise, in some households the guests bring something to the holiday table that is also part of the tradition. They bring their anger, hurt, resentment and pain. They bring their old grudges; disappointments and unresolved issues. They bring something so negative that the other guests look forward to it with dread.
This year you have a chance to change things. You can break with tradition and bring something new and improved. The thanksgiving and holiday table provides an opportunity for you to bring something positive. You can bring forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, peace, and love.
If you don’t have the recipe, you can create one. You can make a concentrated effort to view the past from a different point of view. Forgiveness is a good first step. It is not the belief that what was done was not serious or hurtful or even wrong. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget. Forgiveness is a decision to let go of your anger whether it is justifiable or not. It is the decision to forgive the person, if not the act.
Stop thinking that unless the annoying, irritating person treats you in a certain way they are no good. Do not use the holiday gathering to settle old scores or express negative emotions. It is not the time or the place. Allow yourself to experience empathy and to acknowledge that the other person is not perfect. You may not approve of the offending person but you can accept the fact that they are what they are.
What are you going to bring to the holiday table this year?
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305- 788-4864, Psychotherapy.firstname.lastname@example.org