From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Welcome to December! As the holidays fall upon us with hustle and bustle, you may once
again find this to be a busy time for your emotions. Holidays, family reunions, and this
particular season, often arrive with a host of heightened expectations. To avoid the trap
of disappointment as a result of unmet expectations, I offer the following advice:
- Depart from Tradition. Allow this holiday to take on a unique quality which may be
different from years past. We often attempt to replicate the past and then are
disappointed and frustrated by its shortcomings.
- Plan activities and events ahead of time. When family groupings get together, it is
often difficult to make decisions which will be pleasing to all (for example, choosing a
restaurant). Unless the group is clearly directed, boredom, complaints and confusion set
in. However, if an agenda is pre-arranged, there is little to decide and much to look
- Have periodic meetings with your nuclear family. When a family reunion is in full swing,
it is often difficult to stay connected with your own spouse and children. This may lead
to unruly behavior in children or unwanted interference by well-intentioned relatives.
However, if you take a few minutes to be alone with your own family and compare notes on
how everyone is getting along, you can preserve the "usual" order of things and
prevent losing track of one another.
- Spend a few minutes talking alone with each of your relatives. It is often difficult to
talk in groups. Generally, when relatives have not seen each other in awhile, there is
alot of catching up to do. But unless you take a few minutes to talk privately, that
personal communication may not occur. Sometimes people can leave family reunions without
having really communicated with people they care about simply because there wasn't a
chance to talk.
- This year, you may want to consider giving the gift of yourself.
This can be done by
giving your time and attention to really talk and listen to your friends
relatives. Each of us changes so much from year to year that unless we spend time
even closely related people may never really get to know one another. But even a
conversation that involves sharing of thoughts and self can go a long way toward
establishing a very personal and meaningful relationship.
- Accept this holiday for what it is. Each holiday is different and distinct from every
other gathering and each forms just part of a collage of memories for the future. This
holiday season, no matter how you celebrate, make it enjoyable for yourself and those
around you... and it too will be special!
ęCopyright 1987, 1995 by Jane Rosen-Grandon. All Rights Reserved.
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Last Updated August 30, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.