This week’s letter is a hot topic and one I know many of you are struggling with today and upcoming Thanksgiving gatherings.
If you would like to submit a letter to Dear Genie, you can write me HERE.
Thanksgiving Anxiety writes:
I’m having anxiety about going to Thanksgiving at my parent’s house this year. Usually there are 20 or so family at holiday dinners, but because of Covid there will only be me, my parents, and my dad’s two brothers. I’m the only one of this group who did not vote for Trump and everyone but mom is very vocal about their support for him. Again, usually this wouldn’t be a problem because there are so many people and different conversations going that I can stay away from politics but this year I am really afraid it’s going to be all politics. I don’t like to argue and debate, and I sure don’t want to sit for hours listening to them going on about the election when I feel the opposite of them. It will be torture and I want to stay home. Any advice? Do I just argue with them? Do I tell them to shut up? Do I not go?
Dear Thanksgiving Anxiety,
I’m glad you wrote as I know there are many, many, many people who can relate. We all have those family members who show up and must be the loudest and the most insulting and the most “right about everything and they are going to tell you about it.”
It’s frustrating even under the most festive of events. This year it is even worse for many of us because we do not have the large crowd to distract us from their overbearing rudeness. I get it, I really do.
I can’t tell you whether you should go or not. There is a lot that needs to go into that decision, like, are your parents healthy? Do you see them often? How is your relationship with your parents? Would they be terribly hurt if you didn’t come? Is this a family ritual you want to break? Are YOU making the choice or allowing extended family and their behavior to make this decision for you? Is attending this year a threat to your mental health?
Your answers to those questions may make it easier for you to stay home, or help you decide to attend. Definitely give them some thought.
If you choose to go this year, I have a few suggestions to help you set your energetic vibrations and mindset at a level that will help you during the day.
- Speak to your parents ahead of time and ask that they set a boundary that no politics be discussed that day. Explain that due to the stress of the pandemic and election you are just mentally tired and need the time with them to be happy and joyful.
- Think of some topics in advance to broach – some lighthearted things. Get out family photos and take a trip down memory lane. Lead the conversation as much as you can so there is not an opening for uncomfortable subjects.
- One thing I do is to meditate before going into situations like this. Visualize a pleasant meal and conversation – everyone smiling and jolly. Feel the happiness and joy. Then, ask that energy to travel to the future, to your parent’s home – let that energy engulf the house and everyone who enters. When you are there and unpleasant conversation comes up, just close your eyes and ask that energy to enter your heart. It may not stop unpleasant conversation from coming up – but it will help you calmly and lovingly change the subject. “Who is ready for dessert?”
- Lastly, I would advise you to just be really comfortable with who you are and what you believe and understand that the way others believe is a reflection of them and the way they feel about themselves. Don’t take them personally. That’s not easy at first– but it will help reduce anxiety and allow your heart some room for empathy.
It’s dreadful, I know. There are just some folks with no edit buttons that just want to get a rise out of you – they tease and taunt and like to upset people. Don’t play their game. Play yours!
Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy the day in gratitude and hope for the coming year.
Light & Love,
P.S. Remember to still social distance and wear a mask if you feel the need to do so, no matter how others may judge you.