A perfect time to get to know yourself better


The holidays are often a time for family, feasts and celebration. But sometimes these reunions are not the most comfortable ones. Conversations over family dinners can bring up touchy subjects and it’s also a time where we get asked a lot of questions about our lives. Things might not have all gone as we wanted in the past year and these are often brought to the table leaving us feeling uncomfortable.

“So what are you doing now?”

“How is so-and-so (the ex that you just separated from)?”

“Did you find a job?”

“How is work? (and you just lost your job)”

“Did you buy that house (and you just don’t have the money)?”

“How is the love life (and you don’t have one)?”

“What are your plans now?”

“Has your business taken off (and you are still hustling)?”

These questions may trigger emotions if we are not happy with the answers we have. We may find ourselves pinned down and challenged by curious relatives who are also very good at giving us their two cents of how they think we should live our lives. Many of their questions and comments will come from a place of genuine curiosity and love, but that doesn’t stop them from stirring up emotions in us.

Although it’s understandable that we may begin to dread these situations, we do have another option as to how to take them. Consider that uncomfortable emotions are trying to catch our attention and tell us something. So if a caring family member is trying to tell us how they think we should lead our lives and it’s not what we want, it’s quite normal that we feel upset, annoyed, or even angry. Our boundaries might have been trespassed and these feelings are reminding us of what is important to us, what we value or believe.

Say for example, you have been looking for a very specific job that is hard to find, but it is what you really want to do. Your wise uncle suggests that you should just be happy you have a job or take a better paying job in the company down the road. You feel irritated, pressured, invalidated and furious and in a bad mood for the rest of the day. When actually, this anger you feel might just be pointing out how meaningful this particular job is to you. As for your uncle’s opinion, he is entitled to it but that doesn’t mean you have to take it on.

Whatever negative emotions may be triggered in you during this holiday season, ask yourself “What can this be telling me about…

…what is important to me?

…what I need?

…what I believe in?”

Take this uncomfortable feeling as a clue from whoever triggered it. They are helping you to remember what really matters to you. They are giving you valuable information that will help you move forward in the direction that is right for you.

If you want to learn more about what emotions can tell you about your needs or values, you might enjoy our free article: Emotions and Needs... More Linked Than You Think. For more about how our emotions can give us valuable information, read Using Our Emotions as Our Guides.

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