Holiday Angst, Pt 2

Last installment we began this series by exploring the fact that the holidays magnify our realities.

As noted, this is a neutral principle. That means it can work as an influence either for joy or for frustration in our lives, depending on the nature of our family relationships.

As we consider this magnification principle there is a crucial factor we are wise to be aware of – how magnification affects proportion and perspective.

In the first post in this series we looked into the matter of proportion. Today I want to talk about the ways in which magnification affects perspective.


Perspective
relates to the science of sight.

For our purposes here, this is an important point. Why?

Because it tells us that…

the way you feel about the holidays has everything
to do with the way you are seeing them
.

 

Let’s take this connection between perspective and seeing a little further.

When it comes to perspective, relationships are a key factor. What do I mean by this?

The relationships between the parts themselves, and the relationships of the parts to the whole are central concerns.

When you consider the factor or factors that have you dreading the holidays, here are some important questions to ask yourself. They bring the connection between perspective and seeing into clearer view:

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  • Am I keeping my concerns, my issues in perspective?
  • Are my concerns valid?
  • Am I being petty?
  • Is my attitude being fueled by something I should have forgiven or simply dropped years ago?
  • Am I putting a part (my perceptions, attitudes, feelings) ahead of the whole (the importance of family)?
  • Is my focus (another aspect of magnification) on part of the picture distorting my view of the whole?
  • What positive changes could occur if I changed the way I see things?

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Asking yourself these questions will take some courage and a lot of honesty. But asking them can often lead to very positive attitudinal and behavioral changes in you. Often this leads to improvements in how you (and those around you!) experience the holidays.

Restoring perspective to how you are seeing the upcoming holidays – and remember, perspective relates to the science of sight – can be a powerful tool for positive change.

 

In closing, I want to come back to our first premise – The holidays magnify your reality.

There are families with terrific realities and the fact that the holidays magnify these is a wonderful gift.

There are families with sad and unfortunate realties, and the magnification principle of the holidays makes these worse. A family with a recent death; a family where there are some members who are so toxic you have to stay away from them for your own sanity – yes, these do exist.

But there is a third group as well. I can tell you firsthand that by far I’ve seen more examples from this category than the other two combined. These are families in which proportion and perspective have been lost. And some or all family members are suffering because of this loss.

 

We will continue with this series on the holidays next week, but for this post I want to close with a story.

A long time ago two brothers had a falling out in their younger years. So great was the rift that the younger brother, who had wronged the elder, feared that if his older brother ever saw him it would mean his death. He was convinced that his older brother wanted to kill him.

Later in life, the two brothers did meet. Not only was no one murdered, but in a powerful showing of love and forgiveness, the enmity from long ago was ended. Healing of the relationship occurred.

You can read the story of these two brothers and family tragedy made right in Genesis 25-33.

The holidays, and especially Christmas… I can think of no better time to move on from the past and restore family relationships.

Look first to yourself and then who knows, you might just be the catalyst for growth and change in your family this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Until next time,

 

Dr Michael Ruth, Growth Resources, Personal Growth