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How to Have Peace and Goodwill Toward Men

When you were getting married, were you ever told that your wedding day isn’t actually all about you? Reflecting upon this experience, I can chuckle a little bit because the friend who had warned me about this in advance was absolutely right.

I came to realize that not only did I have my own expectations for how the day would go, but so did my mom, my dad, my grandma, my now husband, and his entire family. And everyone had a slightly different idea of how that day should go. The thing was, that the day was important to every one of these people, albeit for different reasons, and sometimes that caused friction.

The same is true for Holidays. We each bring to the table different desires, expectations, and past experiences of how the day “should” go. Manuals.

And while there may be nothing wrong with your idea of how the day should go, they may not mesh with how your mother-in-law, spouse, or adult child thinks the day should go. It may not even be possible for certain family members to meet your desires and expectations.

Relationships are the hardest area, I think, to implement our coaching tools and, I would argue, the most needed.

Manuals. Unspoken rules for how others should act, behave, and basically show up in a certain situation. Typically, they are described as something unspoken, not communicated so that the other person doesn’t even realize you have these expectations hanging over them. Usually, this results in disappointment or anger when they fail to meet what we want, and the relationship often suffers as a result of the backlash.

So, the first step to help smooth the way for better dynamics and interactions is to communicate your needs, thoughts, desires, and expectations. This requires forethought. It can be tricky because many of our manuals exist without our conscious awareness. We don’t even think that anyone would consider doing something differently. At the start of our growth in self-awareness, we usually end up uncovering a manual when someone fails to meet an expectation we didn’t even realize we had. I know this has been true for me.

For example, I thought it was normal for newly married couples to visit both sides of the family on a holiday. My new husband was under the assumption that you choose one side and alternate every other year. We didn’t really talk about it until the holiday was nearly upon us and I remember exploding at the suggestion that I didn’t get to see my family at all on Christmas. I was offended. He was caught totally off-guard. We both got upset, and as a result, holiday discussions became a very sticky and eruptive topic for several years….so messy.

You see, if I had been able to bring the topic up in advance, there wouldn’t have been the pressure of a decision needing to be made quickly and we could each have time to adjust to whatever compromise was made. By the time the holiday rolled around, we would have had time to make peace with the plan, whatever it was, to whatever degree we were able.

However, what about the times where we communicate our needs, desires, wants, expectations and the other person cannot meet them or refuses to do so? This is where the rubber really hits the road and coaching is so incredibly helpful. This is where we have to make a conscious decision to own our thoughts and emotions, to work through them, to sit with the pain of uncomfortable emotions, and to bring them to the Lord – or we will undoubtedly be a grump or a mope come Holiday time because we will still be grieving what “should have been.”

This is the incredible value of this mindset work. Do you want to have a peaceful holiday where you are able to bask in the beauty of the present moment? Of course you do!

So get coached!

Pray for acceptance. Do the Metanoia Catholic process of journaling. Identify the areas you are grasping for control that are not yours to control. Identify your manuals in advance so you can love your loved ones by allowing them their freedom to choose how to do their holiday. God wants you to be at peace within yourself, and in doing so, to be a deep well of interior peace that radiates outward to the rest of the family.

That is the best gift you can give to anyone this Holiday season and the best way to celebrate any Holy Day.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14