My number is 16,800. That’s how many kilometers separate me from my family. This holiday season, FaceTime will fool me into thinking I’m present as they gather to eat, celebrate and reminisce. At some point, we’ll disconnect our call, they’ll be together, and I’ll still be on the other side of the world.
There was a time that all I wanted was not to go visit family during the holidays. Inevitably, every family holiday gathering started with hours in traffic and ended with arguments and hurt feelings. In between, there would be moments of joy, laughs and connection, but at some point, I decided it wasn’t enough to outweigh the judgment, criticism and general annoying behaviors. (Sorry, family if you’re reading this.)
Now, I wish I could be there in person and I can’t.
I won’t admit it if you ask me, but I know that I was a part of the conflict. I worked myself up about the holiday time before we even got into the car to head to my parent’s house. Inner peace felt like a joke; something to read about in self-help books that was meant for others but never for me.
It’s interesting, we grow up, become adults, happy, healthy and high functioning, but somehow, we immediately slip into old patterns when it comes to holidays with family.
Love them, hate them, they’re your family. If nothing else, the one thing you have in common are the memories of your childhood. Let that be a beacon that gets you through another holiday season together with happiness and inner peace leading the way.
Bet you want to stop me here.
All this happiness and inner peace mumbo-jumbo sounds good but how? How do you ditch stress and find that inner peace that you’re craving?
I’ll let you in on a secret. Just because I no longer go to visit family during the holiday season, because it would take me over 24 hours to get there and a minimum of three plane connections, doesn’t mean that the holidays are magically stress-free. You’d think they would be given the amount of blame I like to put on my family for driving me nuts. (Again, sorry family if you’ve read this far.)
Here’s one thing I know:
Other people don’t arrange their lives to give you inner peace. They’ll never stop being who they are just because it drives you up a wall. Inner peace? Happiness? It starts and ends with you.
Sometimes a good quote can give you just the perspective you need to break the self-imposed tension and frustration with a laugh. Quotes can also give you the sixty seconds of reflection you need to reset, take a mental deep breath, and keep going.
I don’t know a lot for sure, but one other thing I know is true:
When you let people be who they are, you get to show up as you are too. It’s kinda awesome.
This year, when you want to keep your cool and get your inner peace on, instead of pouring another glass of wine, find your favorite quote, pause, ditch the stress, and party on.
Happiness is having a large, loving, close-knit family in another city. ~ George Burns
It’s like being at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving – you can put your elbows on it, you don’t have to talk politics… no matter how old I get, there’s always a part of me that’s sitting there. ~ John Hughes
Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life. ~ Andrew J. Bernstein
Time flies, even if turkeys don’t. ~ Barack Obama
Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. ~ Ronald Reagan
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. ~ Buddha
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ~ Maya Angelou
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. ~ Wade Boggs
Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. ~ William Arthur Ward
We’re all constantly keeping score. You can’t help it. But trying to pit ourselves against other people in some measurable way is largely a waste of time. ~ Ron Howard
Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life. ~ Joan Lunden
The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there. ~ Robert M. Pirsig
The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. ~ Unknown
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley
The holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can. ~ Giada De Laurentiis
Change starts with you. ~ Alli Polin
I won’t make it home to hug my family this holiday season. Give yours an extra big squeeze for me. Enjoy your time together and when you find your inner peace slipping away, sneak away to reset. If an awesome quote helps you do it, all the better.
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