Holiday Strength: Time to Celebrate!!!!





Holiday Strength:

Time to Celebrate!!!!


By

L.T. Force, Ph.D.

Gerontologist

Well, its that time of year. The Holidays have arrived - and bringing with them is the gathering of: family, friends and co-workers. Time to celebrate, they say.

The definition of celebrate:

****

cel·e·brate

/ˈseləˌbrāt/

verb

verb: celebrate; 3rd person present: celebrates; past tense: celebrated; past participle: celebrated; gerund or present participle: celebrating

acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity."they were celebrating their wedding anniversary at a restaurant" Similar: commemorate, observe, honor, mark, salute, recognize, acknowledge, remember, memorialize, keep, drink to, toast, make merry, rave, party, eat, drink, revel, roister, perform and observe….


(Oxford Dictionary) ****

Although the tradition of the Holidays place an emphasis on celebration and good will….there are times and occasions, in fact, they are the two main themes and feelings that are missing. Why?

Families are interesting. Families consist of a constellation of different individuals representing a uniqueness in: appearance, attitude, size, emotion and beliefs….etc.

As I tell my students in the Theories of Social Casework class: “When families work….they work….and when families don’t work….they don’t work”. I also tell them: “Not every family is going to look like yours. Every family has an emotional currency (that is specific to their family patterns). Every family has traditions , i.e., how they speak to each other, how they manage money, the use of humor and sarcasm, how they exhibit fondness, love and approval. For sure, all families are different. And yes, every family has secrets and toxic issues. However, every family has strengths, values and upsides. In working with families….you cannot just look at the negative patterns - you also have to look at the positive behavior patterns….because all families have strengths”.

So, the Holidays are here - and the gatherings begin. But things happen. It is also around this time of the season that I am typically asked to write an article for the local news media about: “How best to handle the Holiday gatherings when a member of the family has the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease?” In addition, I often receive the question from clients about: “The best strategy to use in surviving the family gathering or office party?” These times and gathering….whether they be with families, friends or co-workers can be very stressful - and at times overshadow the intention of joy, happiness and goodwill. However, there are useful tools and strategies that can be utilized in positively influencing the outcome of Holiday gatherings.

My advice: “stay in the moment….stay the course….stay focused on what the original goal is….and that is a gathering of people who have a commonality with each other. For some, they share genetic DNA and early-on life experiences. For others, they share similar interests and hobbies. And for others, they share work related experiences and goals. Whatever the magnet has been to draw you together - here you are. You also have to take responsibility for influencing the outcome of this exchange - whether it be with family, friends or co-workers. And how do you do this? You do this by recognizing: “there is an inverse relationship between how you feel about yourself and how you feel about the behavior or attitudes of others. If you feel good, you are in the zone, you have a strong sense of self then the incoming attitudes and behaviors of others - won’t have the same effect upon you as if you are: not at the top of your personal game….where you may feel disoriented, unorganized and under appreciated….not by others….but rather by yourself.”

Give yourself a gift this Holiday Season: “and that is the gift of strength, insight and understanding that everything passes….things do not remain the same…. and most importantly….if you are looking for a good and positive outcome from the gatherings of this Holiday Season….then act like you do!”

“Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!!!”