How I Learned a Valuable Lesson One Thanksgiving…
Call it self-centeredness, call it immaturity, or call it (as I do) being human, but I often find myself trapped in the paradigm of thinking that all reactions and situations happening in a social setting are about me.
This type of thinking has led me down many dark rabbit holes of self-doubt, causing resentment for people I was sure were talking bad about me or laughing at me. Basically this orientation to the idea that it is all about me has resulted in many hours of emotional self-abuse, painful doubt, and wondering what I could have said or what I should have done. In other words, I have lost some good hours of living to this focus.
Then one Thanksgiving holiday I was given the gift of the Oprah “Aha! Moment,” or as the third graders in my life call it the “Oh Duh! Moment,” by my uncle. Let me set this up for you…One Thanksgiving I was given the job of cooking the meal for the family. I was really excited to do this, because I love to cook and I was recently hired at a gourmet grocery store so I had great recipes to use. I was in the kitchen joyfully cooking for hours and imagining the culinary rapture I would create for my family. I pictured each of them expounding on how amazing the food was, what a great cook I was, how amazingly creative the dishes were, etc. As I basted turkey and rolled dough for country tarts I pictured myself taking my compliments with humility and a slight, regal bow of my head.
So, imagine my surprise when every dish I brought out was met with criticism and suspicion by my uncle. He would wrinkle his nose and push the cranberry walnut-infused stuffing with his fork like he was prodding a dead squirrel instead of my culinary masterpiece. He even went so far as to say, “What sort of desert is this!? It looks like a mess that a dog wouldn’t eat!” (OK, he may not have said “dog wouldn’t eat,” but the blood was in my ears at this point in the meal and I was only getting the gist of the comments.)
At the end of the dinner I left everyone else to the dishes and went to cry in my room. I was devastated. Dashed were my visions of joy and glory, replaced with confusion and sadness that my uncle would be so rude. Eventually I went back out to the family and ripped my uncle a new one – yes, I unleashed to let him know he was a real jerk (that is definitely not the word I used, but I can’t print the real word in a blog) and that he was super awful. He reacted by yelling right back at me.
The holiday was ruined not just for me but for most of the family. No one likes to see a fight.
To my even greater surprise the next day my mom took me aside and let me know that she thought my uncle reacted the way he did because Thanksgiving and Christmas were very special times in his life. The times when his mom, my grandma, was happiest. She would greet us all with a hug and would be so busy cooking simple, yummy foods to show us her love. My uncle wasn’t really being critical of my meal, but he was missing the food that he thought were about the holiday. The simple food my grandma made.
My moment of learning was that in holiday or social settings we often think all reactions, all moments, all comments are targeted at us. We have reactions to this belief that may derail our joy of the moment or others if we decide to react negatively in public to a perceived hurt. My second layer of learning was to stop when I feel hurt at events, especially family events, because, let’s face it, those are often emotionally loaded, and to instead get curious about how the comment, the event might not have been about me. This curiosity takes me to my higher thinking and out of my reactive thinking – even if I never know the real reason something is said or done I don’t have the need to react and ruin my day.
Neurosculpting helps me every day to get curious and bring up my higher thinking…give it a try this holiday season and see if you can bring more joy into the holidays this year.
Sign Up Today for a special Neurosculpting® Class – “Neurosculpting® Through the Holidays” on Saturday, November 11th 12 – 5:30pm.
Travis Rumsey and I will lead you through information that is designed to help you navigate the upcoming holidays with curiosity, grace, and a sense of calm. In-person and On-line attendance options. Join us and plan for a more enjoyable holiday season!
My name is Susan, and I am a Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator and the Director of Corporate Programs for the Neurosculpting® Institute. I am also a wife, mom, friend to many, a skier, a boxer and according to my dog – a pretty good dog mom!
I believe it is important for potential clients to understand how I came to Neurosculpting®, as it often connects me to you.