Thanksgiving is here! The time of year when we are to be thankful for many things, most importantly, we are to be thankful for family and friends; grateful for another opportunity to enjoy each others company.
Many families from the outside looking in are extremely dysfunctional in nature. And some appear to be perfect in every way.
One thing we all know, there is often more going on than meets the public eye. Often we as family members are dealing with pasts hurts that we have yet to forgive, and we walk in to a family function with that issue unresolved. Though working on past pain takes an extreme amount of time, I am here to let you know that you can get through this holiday without letting your temper flare up or your broken emotions ruining yet another beautiful holiday.
Below I list 10 tips that will help you prepare for having a Thanksgiving that you can actually be extremely thankful for when the holiday comes to an end.
1. Accept that your family is the one you were meant to have
Who we are and where we come from, from a deterministic perspective, is exactly how things are to be. Though we grow up and change a lot of who we are, in efforts to erase our past, we still biologically belong to a group of individuals who are, in simple words: our family. That family is who you were meant to have as a part of your life’s story. You may feel that a lot of who they are does not relate to anything you support or believe in anymore, but just remember that biologically those individuals are a part of your story and learning to accept that as truth, rather than turn your back on it, will make a huge difference in how you move forward from this point on.
2. Plan to forgive past hurts
Often times the person you are still so very angry at have moved on past the incident or incidents that caused your unresolved anger. Sometimes, the only person in the way of forgiving the past pain is you. Take a look at the situation. Spend a few hours or days meditating on what happened back then. Write your feelings out, or talk them out with a trusted source. Plan today to forgive the incident, even the painful ones. Walking into this stage of forgiveness is for your sake, not theirs.
3. Relax and embrace the spirit of the Holidays
Relax! Relate! Release!! Remember that? It is a memorable quote from a scene with Whitley on the TV show ‘A Different World’. And those three words are a great chant suggestion for you as your breathe in and out this holiday season.
The holidays have arrived and I want you to plan to make the 2012 holidays and beyond, the best you have ever had! Take some time to rent a few holiday movies. Go window shopping or shopping for holiday décor for your home. Stop by your nearest Starbucks and try one of the many holiday flavors. Sit in the coffee shop and just spend time alone with your coffee and your thoughts. Write down in your journal the things in your life that you are most thankful for.
Get in the spirit of the greatness that comes with Thanksgiving and the excitement of the Christmas holiday soon to follow
4. If possible, call to talk to family you are upset with, prior to Thanksgiving Day
We all know that saying, ‘be the bigger man, or gal, about it’.
So you may already see where I am going with this one (smile).
The spirit of kindness is flowing everywhere during the holiday season, so reaching out to participate in this one kind act will not be very difficult at all. Consider it your way to participate in the spirit of the holidays.
5. Go for Walks, get good Sleep days before
Long walks with great scenery are a proven mood lifting technique. And great sleep the night before a long day ahead is just what the ‘doctor’ has ordered for you. If you anticipate any sort of drama that typically happens when you visit or host a function for Thanksgiving Day, you want to be mentally prepared; walking and getting an adequate amount of sleep will help you in arriving to this state of mind. Listen to relaxing music as you walk, throughout the day and as you prepare for bed. Calm music is another healing technique towards a better and more relaxed you every day, as well as during the holidays.
6. Do not debate political discussions with anger
Election Day for 2012 was on November 6th, right? So let’s leave it right there if you are more than aware that someone sitting at the Thanksgiving table does not agree with the FACT that President Obama won this year’s election. A lot of animosity has built from many different directions with this year’s election 2nd term winner. And across our world, there are likely billions of different opinions on how things should have or could have gone. The Thanksgiving Day holiday is not for the negative debates associated with politics. If you know in your heart that you cannot amicably agree to disagree with someone who stands on the other side of the political spectrum than you do, I highly suggest you avoid all political debates with family and friends visiting; be an advocate for political peace this holiday by sharing this advice with others who will be attending the same family function.
7. Keep everyone busy with games and activities
Live, Love, Laugh! That is another favorite phrase we enjoy to quote. So I expect you to be the one making sure that everyone you are spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with is doing just that! Go online and find some fun family games, one really great one is ‘Thanksgiving Fill-In-The-Blank’ find it here.
And when all else fails, gather up the family members and go outside and play some good ol’ ‘Red Rover’!
8. Drink responsibly
Ok, I would not be holding up my legacy of ‘keeping it real’, if I sat here and pretended that households hosting Thanksgiving Dinner are alcohol free zones. So we all know that yours or someone’s house you know about will have alcohol being served. Decide this year, if you have not already, to be the responsible drinker. Or choose even not to drink at all. Alcohol can bring out the loose tongues, and usually makes individuals begin to argue and address unresolved issues. Do not risk being a part of this scene. Drink responsibly or not at all this holiday and expect to enjoy yourself a lot more for choosing to do so.
9. Say thank you to the cook(s)!
Now look-ee here, Big Mama is not in that kitchen cooking for her health, (smile), so make sure you tell her or the future ‘Big Mama’s to be’, thank you for taking the time to make sure everyone’s belly enjoyed the holiday season as well. Always say thank you to those who are hosting an event that you attend. And if you really want to make them smile, offer to clean up…even if they say no, take out a bag of trash and wash a few dishes; believe me, it is a good look for you later after you have long since gone back to your own home.
10. Enjoy yourself
Most important part about a healthier emotional you during the holidays will be to ensure that you honestly did enjoy yourself. Now all of the tips here are not going to guarantee that those around you will be on their best behavior, but it will ensure that you will have a better holiday experience this year around. Do not take each comment so personally. As my daughter Rose likes to say, ‘Get out your Feelings!’ and as my daughter Denyce says often, ‘It is not that serious!’
Enjoy yourself this Thanksgiving Holiday and make sure you make it, the Best Thanksgiving Day ever!
Written by Authoress, DeAnna ‘Mz DeeVa’ Shields. Ms. Shields aka Mz DeeVa is a Psychology major at UMHB, U.S. Army Widow, Motivational Speaker, Aspiring Life Coach and Family Therapist. She hosts a Relationship Talk show online each week and is a respected inspirational Author of her 2011 self-published Relationship Guide, ‘So Your Hearts Been Broken? Please Get Over It!’
Order your copy here for only $6. Read it now via the NOOK e-reader
Read Mz DeeVa’s story of past hurts and how she learned to forgive in her memoir ‘Great Sex is Not Love and Never Will Be’