We give thanks on Thanksgiving for many things- food, shelter, employment, friends and family, spirit moving in our lives, mother earth- thanksgiving is a personal and collective experience for each of us. Unfortunately, some of you may be feeling lost, lonely, sad, mad or disappointed. Holiday gatherings are often a time of stress and anxiety within families, especially if you come from a dysfunctional family.
If you are experiencing strife due to an interaction with family on Thanksgiving, stop and give thanks for the opportunity. Every time we experience an unpleasant exchange with a family member we have the opportunity to take that experience and learn and grow from it. Maybe it is a type of relating that has occurred over and over and over between you and this family member. Maybe the interaction was a result of resentment, grief or unfinished business.
Whatever the case, you have been presented information that you can use to get to know yourself better. Consider you part in the exchange. Reflect on the confrontation, disagreement or argument in an objective way that might allow you to gain insight into yourself and the other person. Thinking to yourself, “I can’t do this anymore” or “This is the last time I am going home” are signs that your emotional health is being compromised.
Talk to someone
It may be time to do something different including self-reflection or talking to a professional about your feelings. If you are at your wits end but you are hesitant about contacting a counselor or psychotherapist, think about how much better you will feel when you do. Once you begin to understand the dynamics and longstanding patterns change, your self-worth will be enhanced and your relationships with others will improve. If a bad family experience during Thanksgiving has given you a reason to seek out ways to learn about yourself and grow personally, give thanks!