by Sheri Rosenthal

Certainly there are many people who get excited about the holiday season, the opportunities to see family and dear friends, and to share love and creativity. On the other hand, there are those that feel stressed, resentful and apprehensive about the upcoming holidays and the impending interactions with their family.

So what’s the difference between these two groups of people? Why such diverse reactions to the holidays and our families? It’s simple! It’s all in the way we choose to see our lives and the situations therein. If you have a belief that holiday time is great, then that is exactly how your holiday season will be. If you have a belief that this is a difficult time and that your family is challenging to be with, then that is exactly how it will be.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that what is happening outside of us is independent from us. But this is not truth. From one point of view we can say that there is nothing outside of us, that our reality is a total projection of our minds. When we recognize that we are creators, we take responsibility for the way we dream our reality and we “get” on the deepest level that we are designing our families and the lives we are living.


Of course, most humans don’t want this responsibility and it’s much easier to simply blame everything unpleasant in our lives on those situations and people “outside” of ourselves. But this is not the way of a spiritual warrior. When you don’t take your family or the busyness of the holidays personally, it’s easy to accept life as it is and enjoy what’s happening. But if you have a preconceived idea about the way things should be or the way you believe things are – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

I understand that some of you have families where you are yelled at or your family appears to be insulting your life choices or activities. In this kind of situation, we often say that we dread being with our family because “they are hurting us” and – why should we want to be around people who treat us this way? Well, the bottom line is that everyone is entitled to think whatever they want about us, and that includes our family. It’s not up to us to control them or make them behave the way we want them to be. However, when you no longer take people personally and you treat them kindly, they will react differently to you.

For example, you may tend to argue with your family when they yell at you or talk badly about your actions in defense because you believe your family is attacking you (they are not attacking you, they are simply attached to their point of view and it has nothing to do with you). If you do this, you will give them something to feel right about and continue to judge you. If you are kind and answer them like the following example – you will get a different reaction: “I understand clearly, dad, how you see it that way and I appreciate your point of view. However, I do not have the same point of view as you and that’s why I am doing things differently than you suggest. This does not mean I don’t respect your point of view, it simply means that I have my own life to live and my own errors to make. Still, I love you and appreciate your concern for me. Thank you for loving me so much!”

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