Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A very special holiday piece of unsolicited advice.

dis·ap·point·ment - dɪsəˈpɔɪntmənt [dis-uh-point-muhnt] (noun)
1. the act or fact of disappointing: All of his efforts only led to the disappointment of his supporters.
2. the state or feeling of being disappointed: Her disappointment was very great when she didn't get the job.
3. a person or thing that disappoints: The play was a disappointment.

[Origin: 1605–15;
disappoint + -ment]
—Synonyms 1. failure, defeat, frustration.


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You may have some relatives. I'm talking about the ones that snub you, year after year. Holiday after holiday.

Every year, you hope against hope that they'll be more welcoming, more interested, and are consistently disappointed. This is especially so if you are the hopeful type and, year after year, hope that they want to do family things with you. Instead, they demonstrate to you yet again that they don't.

✗ They don't invite you to birthday parties or to dinner.

✗ They may or may not return your calls or your emails.
✗ And they won't tell you why.
They're very attached to their grudges and their perceived wrongs. They do not want to let go of them. That way, they'll always be right and you'll always be wrong (See how it works?)

Now chew on this: The fact that you're hopeful, and want their acceptance, and that you are willing to let bygones be bygones, means that you're better than they are.

But now it's your turn to let it go.

Trust me, it's not you: It's them. You're pretty awesome! The fact that they don't want to be with you is their problem, and their loss, and let's face it, why do you want people in your life that don't treat you with respect and admiration?
Ask yourself, honestly, if you weren't related to them, would you worry as much as you do about what they think?

So how about this: For 2008, make it your goal to cultivate the closeness of friends who you respect you and care about you and want your companionship. Drink in the warmth, the welcoming, and the caring from people who already know how awesome you are.

To heck with the relatives.

...

17 comments:

  1. Family issues are some of the worst. You said it perfectly when you said to "let it go". That's tough to do for alot of people but it's the best way....it really is.

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  2. Amen!

    Goddess and I came to the same conclusion a few years ago. Our lives are much easier now.

    I love these two bits:

    "...you would never pick people like this to be in your life..."

    and

    "In fact, I'm willing to bet that if you weren't related to them, you wouldn't give a crap what they think of you."

    Those are the truth, plain and simple.

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  3. I keep telling you - spilt apart at birth we were.

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  4. Actually, I avoid my family because they bore me silly. Especially the in-laws. The only thing we have in common is that we're carbon-based forms of life.

    But yeah, you've hit on the right attitude to take. You can't make people want to hang out with you, and being kin by blood or marriage doesn't mean you'd really want to, anyway.

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  5. good for you. Be the bigger geekgirl, I say. Way to let it go!

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  6. What excellent unsolicited advice!

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  7. Gettin it said, gettin it said. Amen!

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  8. You got it. In spades!!!

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  9. Oh yes! I love it!! So True!

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  10. Good for you...their loss for sure!

    Being right doesn't always = being happy.

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  11. Love this...thank you!

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  12. Wow, IronGirl, you're my new hero! I, too, am a teacher (laughed at many things you've said in your blog!), and I'm working my way into being as fit as I can be. Thanks for the great blog!

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  13. This was really helpful to read this year :)

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  14. I stumbled across your blog this morning from a link on another blog. This was JUST what I needed to hear/read today. I have a really crappy relationship with my immediate family and I've been hurting since Christmas because of it. A dear friend told I just needed to let it go, but couldn't really give me reasons why. Seeing the logic spelled out in this entry really helps ... A LOT!

    Thanks!

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  15. Ok, I'm usually very reserved around strangers and not very emotional, but I can I just give you a big virtual hug? I love what you just wrote. I'm going to print it out and keep it in my journal.

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  16. I've reread this post several times over the last few days - it's so filled with sadness and pain but also hope and resolve. I want to share something I was taught this year, that I'm still struggling to really really learn and believe - maybe you'll find it useful as I think it really sums up what you're saying here - my friend calls it "stimulus-->belief--->response":

    There are two things that affect how you feel or respond to the world (or the people and events in the world that touch you.) There's the "stimulus" -- the event itself - the thing that happens to you. (Someone is late to meet you, someone bumps into your car in the parking lot, someone doesn't return your email.) Then there are your "beliefs" about that thing - how you interpret it, what it means to you. It's not the event itself that causes your "response" - your feelings of anger, sadness, joy, calmness, whatever, as there are many ways one can react to an event. It's what you believe about it.

    For example, your friend is late. You believe she doesn't value your time, so you are angry and resentful. But if you change your belief about her and her motivation to, say, "she is doing the best she can" you might be more forgiving and thus less angry when she shows up, more able to enjoy the rest of the visit. Why go through the effort to forgive? After all, most of us love to wallow in our self-righteousness! Well, you might choose to do so if you feel your anger and resentment is not serving you - you no longer want to feel that way.

    Your response to your family may stem from many long-held beliefs. It sounds like you're trying to change the beliefs from something like, "if I try harder they'll love me the way I want to be loved" to "I'm wonderful as I am and they choose not to be in my life for their own reasons."

    The idea is, you can't change their behavior - you have no control over them. But you can change how it makes you feel, by changing your beliefs about it.

    I wish you peace on this issue in the new year!

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  17. Jenny, you're assuming I wrote this about my family. I wrote it about a lot of families. There's a lot of people that are hurting this holiday season, and I wrote it for all of them.

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