During the holiday season, if at all possible, it’s nice to be positive—you feel better, act better and make people around you happier.
That being said, sometimes it is completely impossible.
Family members may come at you with envy, disappointment, frustration, anger or unresolved gripes—you may have your own set of unresolved negative feelings—as much as it would really be nice to turn on a “happy” switch whenever you wanted to, sometimes you can’t.
We were put on this earth to evolve.
Here are my hints—for your unhappy holiday times—to hopefully help you not fall too deeply into despair.
They will help you feel your negativity in a way that will be slightly more elegant than how you were planning to be negative before:
1. Get annoyed at the positivity movement. During positive times, thinking you should be more positive could torment you and thereby, compound your negativity. Remember: it is utterly ridiculous to believe that you can grow and evolve as a human being via only positive feelings. It is not only ridiculous, it is impossible.
2. Focus on the negativity. Don’t waste these feelings of frustration, rage, jealousy, disappointment, hurt, anger, hopelessness or whatever else is there. If you want these negative states to take you places, focus on them.
3. Find someone who can be present with your negativity (listen to it, understand, commiserate, empathize). Try to have a direct line to them throughout the holidays, whether by text, e-mail or phone. Being heard (vs. “fixed”) is very good.
4. Allow people you care about to complain. What a great gift this is. The gift of listening without judgment, without “fixing,” without “solving.” Just try to understand why this person is so negative. There’s got to be a reason they are so boringly stuck, repetitively cranky, dissatisfied and miserable.
Ask yourself: why? This is how we evolve. Warning: this is hardest to do with your spouse.
5. Take turns being negative in the family. If (and this does happen) you have more than one miserable person in the family, try to take turns. One at a time. This means that one person has the floor and nobody will admonish, judge, ask them to change, tell them to be quiet or outdo their misery. This is especially important with cranky children: ironically, allowing the negative feelings to be present for as long as it takes, generates connectedness and love. When someone feels bad, you want to hold their hand, not tell them they’re being stupid.
6. Adopt a negative mantra. This is something you repeat in your head, like, “oy, oy, oy, oy” or “yech, yech, yech, yech” or “b*tch, b*tch, b*tch free, b*tch.”
The mantra provides your mind with a way of venting so you don’t have to lose it or get depressed. If, after doing this mantra your minds turns to “I’m so horrible, I’m so negative, I’m so ungrateful,” it means that you are not sufficiently negative for the mantra to provide release and it’s only compounding your negativity.
Then, you can try to be more positive instead by focusing on things you like, like where you’re going to spend your next vacation away from the family.
7. Meditate on time. If you are suffering with family, watching the clock can help you focus on the fact that soon, this will be over. Whether you are being crazed by a relative that is difficult, by too much work or by cranky children, clock-watching helps you to remember that this too shall pass.
8. Do your duty. Keeping busy can help you stay present with your negativity without hating yourself. Find something to do so that your negativity becomes a sexy, private secret you can enjoy and covet all the more, as you execute your mantra.
9. Rant and rave. Never is therapy so rich and fruitful as when there’s a family blowup. This is where painful, unspoken things get said that provide the opportunity for repair, processing and healing. Sometimes, you have to have a revolution for things to change. Don’t be afraid of it. Just vow to use it.
10. Exercise your right to avoid, deny and isolate. Your negativity may be a good radar system for pain, danger and emotional disturbance. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to invitations, provocations and conflict. Just say “no.”
I hope you feel better about your negativity now and that, like me, you will see it as a necessary function of getting to a better place.
If only our happiness and well-being could guide us the same way our negativity does, to get to a better place.
But unfortunately, happiness and well-being are usually the rewards of having had the courage, strength and determination to stay with negativity long enough to allow it to take us to new and better places.
Which is what I want for you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Claudia Luiz
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock