Only five more days until Christmas Day. A time with family – meaning a joyful day at best and many times it means meeting people you would not meet if they were not family and you could choose.
Because, many times, certain family members push our buttons and trigger us. A certain tone in their voice, a memory from long ago, a reminder – and we are in defence mode or feel hurt and want to lash out. We feel jealous or rejected, just because of this person – that’s what we think.
If you feel triggered it’s never the other person – it’s a part of you, that comes out of a shadow, showing you where you feel still insecure or not safe at all.
I have experienced this in my family many times, from my uncle, who always referred to African or Afro-Americans with the N-word, my aunt who always criticized my style and body, my grandma asking for the 1000th time, when I’d finally bring my boyfriend over, my Mum asking me (when I was over forty) if I really wanted to eat another Christmas cookie, why did I not want to be as slim as I was some years ago and live on a diet, oh, and would I ever get a husband instead of just having sex? And why can you not be like other people and have a normal job, house and children?
You’ll have similar issues I guess – and instead of feeling hurt or angry or on the verge of wanting to slap a family member – think of a situation like that right now and take a time out.
Sit for five minutes, hand on your chest and listen.
Where is this feeling in your body? Is it in your heart area, your belly, in your solar-plexus?
Breathe, slowly, calmly, evenly – one breath at a time and listen.
Stay with the feeling and breathe. It may take a short while, and the feeling will dissolve.
Simply because you listened, because you were sitting with it – hand on your chest and breathing. Instead of pushing it away or going straight into reactive mode. Allowing the feeling, being with it and listening will dissolve it. In a good way.
Until it comes up when you get triggered again, in a different way. This is a process – it takes time, it will only work, if you remind yourself and do it consistently.
P.S. This exercise was inspired by Jamie Catto and his brilliant work, if you want to know more, go to http://www.jamiecatto.com. During the Holiday season his online workshops (go to https://www.jamiecatto.com/shop-1) are free. Have a look and download one or more to help you – not only on Christmas.