How I Survived the Holidays

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.” E.H.Chapin

“Character is the total of thousands of small daily strivings to live up to the best that is in us.” Lt. Gen. Arthur Trudeau

Even having the best relationships with family, we still fight to maintain control of our thoughts and feelings. We all want to be number one and second place is never comfortable. I am working on making it satisfying. I remember as a young adult, visiting family at a wedding or gathering. I was always the one to be present when a relative needed me or needed to talk. My siblings appeared randomly yet they were sought after first. It was hurtful to miss out on the talks because my siblings overshadowed me. They got the attention and big hugs and kisses and the plans to get together.

In the meantime I was basically out in the cold and unnoticed. At the next function of course I would be the only attendee and the relatives were glad to see me. Suffice it to say, I never received the attention my siblings received whenever their presence was made. I understood logically why they were welcomed so much because they were missed at most of the other get togethers.

Like the prodigal son everyone was happy at their momentary return. As much as all of us get the idea of it we still anger inside at our quick displacement. It occurred to me how many times we all do this to each other. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to others yet we disregard the simple things and mundane tasks we receive from them often enough.

The excitement of the new arrival makes us disregard the silent dependable person that we easily relegated to the background without any thought. I have been at both ends of it and see some reasons and some dilemmas with it. We’re looking for acknowledgement of who we are from others. We define ourselves through others. We want the quick stamp of approval and yearn to be part of that person’s life or group. Because of our own insecurities we must be accepted by others in order to feel worthy.

Being so caught up in this leaves us little time to reflect on the many things we should be grateful for and also the many things we take for granted. Again it leaves us all with the notion of focusing on the positive. We are worthy. We are unique. We are defined by what we do for those of us we don’t have to do for. We are defined by reaching out to those of us who can’t pay us back. It comes back to me that I am striving to accept what I cannot change. Therefore if I am relegated to second or third place in any or all relationships, I must attempt to deal with that. Those that I love have my unconditional love. That means they don’t have to earn it. They don’t have to indulge or please me.

They can hurt my feelings and I will forgive them and continue to love them with my whole heart. It’s not about me and my feelings. It’s about my unconditional love for them. Do I fall short, yes? Do I come back for more, yes? Is it worth the effort, yes? Am I improving, yes? Our lives on earth are about learning how to love truly, love unconditionally. When we get it and learn it we come to realize everyone is our family. What a wonderful world we would have or create if that could become a reality.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, nor in the shouts or plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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