Besides joy, laughter, and warm memories, the holiday season can trigger drama, anxiety and unwanted memories. The two common denominators are past history and relationships.

While we can’t change the past, we can create something magical in our relationships if we do these two things:

  1. Stop making yourself responsible for other people’s well-being, success and happiness.
  2. Stop making others responsible for your well-being, success and happiness.

When we take on other people’s issues, we give advice, walk on egg shells, see them as weak, and worry excessively. This distraction takes the focus off our own choices as we struggle to mold people into our ideal.

On the other hand, when we hold others responsible for our well-being, we criticize, judge and have a false belief that if the other person would just do XYZ or start doing ABC, then we could relax, be happy, stop worrying and so on.

  • If Mother would be more supportive
  • If Uncle Ted would stop drinking
  • If Jane would stop borrowing money

We always have the opportunity to create anew if we stop trying to change others and simply work on ourselves. We can always set a boundary, ask for what we want, give a little slack, or choose how much time to spend with someone. We have the power to speak truth kindly and let other people’s emotional reactions belong to them instead of hiding who we are to protect them.

Instead of seeing ourselves or others as weak, we can consciously see ourselves and others as whole, complete and lacking nothing.

If the holidays seem a bit dark, you can decide to be the light this season.

Happy holidays my friend.

Marlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email marlene@marlenechism.com

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