Happy Holiday Tips #2

As you likely know by now, my mission is to help us all learn how to listen, speak and act from the wisdom of our own hearts.  Since life constantly reminds me that speaking my truth is often easier said than done, I’ve accepted that this approach is a lifelong PRACTICE.   I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that speaking my truth is often hardest when I am surrounded by family (go figure). And since this is the season for family, I am getting lots of practice.  Most recently I’ve been struggling with how to speak my truth when it’s socially awkward or risky to do so. Don’t get me wrong here. If someone harasses or assaults me, my days of remaining silent are long gone. What I’m talking about here are the lesser “evils” that we all have dealt with at some point.   I suspect many of you can relate. Someone at a family gathering says or does something rude or hurtful. What do we do? Speak up? Remain silent?   Speaking up for ourselves may go against the grain of family expectations. No one wants a kerfuffle. Especially during the holidays.  So the response is often one of tolerance for the sake of peace.  “You know they didn’t mean anything by it. Why don’t you just chill.” When we choose to speak up, though, we are choosing to set a personal boundary. Saying out loud: “Your behavior is not ok with me.” Does that make you quiver in your boots?   Even writing about it is hard for me. Silence was the rule in...

Surviving the Gut-Wrenching Mistake

  I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. That sudden horrible realization that you’ve forgotten something really important…like, um, your best friend’s birthday. One moment you’re fine, the next it feels like the floor has opened up and swallowed you whole. The flush of shame comes over you and all you want to do is curl up into a ball and disappear…or slink off while no one notices.   It sucks doesn’t it? Being hit in the gut with the realization that you messed up BIG TIME. You can apologize. You can call and text and email. But no matter how hard we try, there is no way to undo what has been done. No way to “fix it” or “make it better.”   As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this happened to me recently. Yup. Me, the queen of it’s-not-possible-to-make-too-big-a-deal-over-birthdays. I forgot my best friend’s birthday. (For the second year in a row, she now tells me – god, can it get any worse?) Sure I could fall back on excuses (aka “reasons”) that may actually be true, but the stark reality is that I Messed Up. Pure and simple. I hurt a woman I love dearly, a woman  who has not just walked beside me, but often carried me, literally and metaphorically, for more than 20 years.   What do we do when we screw up so badly with someone we really love?    First and foremost, we have to recognize that the flush of shame will pass and NOT act while we are in it. That flush – you know the heat that starts in your gut, moves often...

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