With Thanksgiving now a memory, and Black Friday in the past, it’s time to reflect on the holiday, and what happens next. I can only hope that you had a wonderful day with family, and that you were able to enjoy good food and company. Thanksgiving was just my husband and kids, and we were able to have a nice meal, that all came together at the same time. That only helps, and I have to admit doesn’t happen every year. Being able to give thanks, with family, for the blessings of the year is important. Please know that everyone doesn’t have that blessing, for lots of different reasons, but some people spent the day alone.
I have worked with many people who struggle to maintain relationships. Being a friend and family member isn’t easy for some. I enjoy doing things for others and I have the ability to communicate effectively with others, but some people don’t. I work with people around communication skills often. Understanding the difference between paying a compliment and offending someone with the truth is a delicate line. Doing nice things for others also doesn’t come naturally to some. At times, they may need a bit of education and support, but it is a skill that can be learned.
Maintaining relationships also takes understanding. There are so many times when one person might be in a good mood but the other person in the relationship is not. Reading people, and getting a feel for where they are, is important, otherwise miscommunication can happen and create problems in the relationship. One person I worked with was improving in treatment, and she was trying to repair a relationship in her life. She tried to be positive with the person and worked so hard, but the relationship was still struggling. We worked on reading situations and people and my patient realized that she wasn’t reading her situation well. She was able to stop, better understand what was happening, and to really understand and repair her relationship. It was very hard for her, but with changes in her behavior she was able to move forward.
When I hear about family gatherings, I know that some people are able to enjoy their family, and others are not, for many different reasons. Sometimes the best communication skills and ability to understand can’t over come past issues, and people are left alone for the holidays. Trying to forgive, or make amends for past mistakes, is hard. The magic of the holidays, and the season, can be a time to take a step to repair relationships, to forgive, or to say I’m sorry. Opening your heart and being vulnerable is scary, but having faith that things can be better is worth the fear. I have had patients make connections to people and family that they thought were lost, and it was such a wonderful gift, and nothing you can buy at a store.
Now that the season is here, and there will hopefully be more times with family, now is the time to think about relationships that might be lost and need to be found. Working on relationships over the holidays can lead to a wonderful season, if it’s safe to repair the relationships and make the connections that have been lost. When it comes to this season, keep the faith, and think about relationships that you may want to improve. It can help make you happy, for life.