Let’s face it: as much as we look forward to the Holiday Festivities, we may also find ourselves dreading it to a certain degree. Why? Because a reunion with the family can be bittersweet.

We are not suggesting that you don’t love your family, nor that you don’t enjoy spending time with them…we are simply shedding light on the fact that our family can often test our patience to a higher extent than anyone else we know.

One of the reasons this is the case is because as humans, we are pretty complex beings. Our unique genetic make-up combined with our unique upbringing and environment have caused us to accumulate a whole set of specific biases and assumptions about the nature of the world and our place in it. We each go about our lives, attempting to carve out our individual identities while at the same time navigate through the challenges and pressures that come our way.

If you think about it, the early years of our lives in particular were instrumental in influencing our worldview…we were chucked together with a bunch of other complex beings that we had no input in choosing (each with their own set of biases and assumptions), along with plenty of rules, minimal personal time and space, and lots of adolescent hormones! Since then, we’ve had to expend enormous effort attempting to unlearn, re-wire, and transcend ingrained behaviours and attitudes that we picked up about the world in our early years.

It makes sense then, that when we are confronted with the very people that witnessed all our complexities unfolding, we often come head to head with these old biases/assumptions/behaviours which we either notice in our fellow family members, or even worse, we notice lingering within ourselves. So as tough and frustrating as it can be, it is actually the presence of our family members which often provides the ideal platform for self-exploration and growth in order to resolve and transcend inner tensions and demons that might exist.

Ready to face the inner battlefield? Here is a mindfulness process to try out these Holidays:

  1. When you feel yourself boiling up inside, take a pause;
  2. Acknowledge that something has triggered this internal reaction;
  3. Observe the emotions as physical sensations passing through you;
  4. Take a few slow belly breaths (feeling your belly rise on the inhale, and fall on the exhale);
  5. Now explore what’s behind why you might have been triggered. What’s your issue with the issue? Which biases/assumptions/attitudes/values in your worldview does this scenario conflict with? Recognise that there might just be a simple clashing of ideals taking place.
  6. Either bring these insights to light (if it is appropriate to do so), or civilly end the conversation and shift your attention to the aspects of the person or situation that are more pleasant and enjoyable.

Wishing all our guests and readers a very Centred Holidays!