For many, Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings together lots of family and friends from far-flung places. While it can be exciting to share a delicious meal and catch up on each other’s lives, it can also be stressful. Especially if everyone brings their own beliefs and dreams for our world to the table.
If you are finding it increasingly hard to absorb the near-constant bad news, you may wonder how it’s possible to enjoy this holiday of thanks and gratitude. Here are my strategies for the day. Maybe they will work for you too.
Try a dish that you’ve never tasted before or eaten in a long time. Savor the flavors and pick out an ingredient that you would like to eat more often.
Start a conversation with someone from another generation than you and ask, “what’s most important in your life right now?” Listen well and respond positively, even if what’s most important to him or her is a struggle or challenge. “While this is a tough situation, you seem committed to making progress.”
Keep your mind open when someone shares a perspective different from yours. It’s difficult not to shut down our thinking, believing we know what he or she is going to say because we’ve heard it all before. Pause. See if you can become curious and look for something to learn or understand better. Be curious about the life experiences that might have shaped his or her beliefs and how those experiences are similar to or different from your own.
Push Nothing Away
Commit to tasting each dish of the meal. Try focusing on the abundance of time and effort required to cook each dish. Express thanks for your favorite part of the meal to the chef. Even ask for the recipe. Welcome the chance to expand your palette and recipe collection.
Accept other’s feedback, even if it feels incorrect or unjustified. Pause. You don’t have to agree with the advice. Instead, can you dig deep and look for a small piece of the feedback that warrants some exploration? Maybe there isn’t anything worth consideration. Before coming to that conclusion, however, try to slow down the knee-jerk reaction to immediately push away the comments.
Consider everyone around the table, idiosyncrasies and all, and extend gratitude for their role in your life (or at least at this holiday celebration). While we tend to accentuate our differences, we are all human beings who want to be understood, accepted, and loved on this journey called life.
I hope your holiday satisfies your taste buds as well as your heart. If there are stumbles along the way, serve a side dish of curiosity and welcome to the table.
Share what worked for you in the comments below.
I’m Karen Clark Salinas, and it’s my mission to help women live their full purpose (work + family) without sacrificing wellbeing. I want to be the coach I wish I’d had when I was a working mom. Someone to help me get unstuck and live my life more intentionally. Marriage, motherhood, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. I know for sure that, with my support, you can pursue your professional dreams while raising a happy and healthy family.