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At This Time of Year, Light and Darkness Ignite an Appreciation for Beauty and Contrast

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As parents, grandparents and teachers it is so important that we embrace the power of these two opposing forces and share these insights with our children. Yes, we want to soak up the awe-inspiring elements of reflecting, sparking and contrasting colours through light. Additionally, the darkness serves a purpose in showcasing the beauty, providing a black background. Moreover, light and darkness are metaphors for our perspectives and life experiences. This is a perfect time of year to have reflective discussions around how the dark elements in our lives have a way of teaching us through failure, experimentation and a greater appreciation for the joyful aspects that reflect our successes and the beauty around us. 

In the previous blog, I discuss how Caroline Myss rattled my understanding of living in faith. Living in faith is not to ignore the negative or darkness. To battle anything negative we need to first recognize it. Today, especially during the holiday season, our families are bombarded with marketing and social media which often creates a dark shadow that is polarizing, negative and lures in our self-centred egos. Often feelings of jealousy, competition, perfectionism and judgement override our perspectives. Family gatherings that were meant to be joyful end up triggering some deep-seated negative memories and emotions.

During the Medical Intuition Course, ** Dr. Norm Shealy, points out that he believes that the biggest obstacles in our ability to heal are our feelings of anger, anxiety, guilt and depression. Reflecting on how the holiday season can evoke our psychic darkness, I couldn’t help but think that the holiday season is a great time to address some of these negative feelings, rather than push them away. It’s a great teachable moment with kids. 

In the hopes of being proactive why not talk with the entire family about the following potential negative feelings and scenarios that can be a trigger and think of strategies to respond in a positive way. The responding strategies need to be homegrown from your family. In this blog, we will look at anger.

Anger: 

Possible Triggering Scenarios: 

  • Having to socialize too much, too late or with company that is not enjoyable or irritating.
  • Feeling that you are the only one doing all the work (a classic feeling for many moms).
  • Comparing or judging gifts received.
  • Feeling judged by family or friends.
  • Not wanting to share (this so often happens with a child when they have a new toy).
  • Too much alcohol, (a common problem with adults resulting in the angry drunk).

It seems that anger is often ignited due to boundary issues. Time, topics, locations and people are chosen or set without the consideration of everyone’s needs and wants. If boundaries are discussed and set in advance, temper reactions can be avoided. In addition, during any event communicating hunger, fatigue or overstimulation can also avoid angry outbursts.

Often annoyance rises when our expectations are too high. Perfectionism, entitlement and lack of gratitude so often distort expectations. Our expectations for our children to display perfect behaviour can be unrealistic.

Last, it seems that anger so often occurs when people’s perceptions clash. Often, it’s assuming someone’s behaviour was mal intended when really it boils down to either a lack of empathy or completely different personal choices of enjoyment. Often, it’s assuming the other side from the worst intention. Why not coach your kids and family to reframe their assumptions of others and assume everyone is trying their best?

Holiday anger can be a complex topic, to say the least! It is a dark side during the festivals of light, peace, and love. We are all human and it is bound to rear its head at some point over the holiday. Rather than avoid it, why not prepare for it and anticipate those potential triggers. Communicate in advance. Come up with agreed shared expectations. Provide explanations of why a particular family member or friend may behave the way they do, which will foster empathy and understanding. Let’s be proactive in hopes of keeping the spirits bright and merry.