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Ho Ho Ho

December 16, 2009

As the holidays approach I notice a growing uneasiness among my family business clients.

The unease springs from memories of holidays past when feelings were hurt, relationships were strained and time was wasted. And they just don’t know how they are going to face it all again.

Here is a suggestion I offer to them – you might find it helpful.

Imagine two rooms in your mind – they can be any size.  Put the holiday memories that make you feel bad in one of the rooms and close the door. Now put the holiday memories that make you feel good in the other room, step in the room too and close the door.  Now step through all of the good memories you have, don’t worry about nagging thoughts of hurt or resentment … take a break from all of that.  Just think about how much you appreciate or care about the people who are there, think about how much you might have learned from people there, how much they might have made you laugh, how much you miss being with them. Let yourself feel what you are feeling – happy, sad. Laugh or cry out loud if you feel like it or need to. Know that no matter what else is going on in your family or family business you have these memories. They belong to you, they will never change. You can visit them whenever you want to. They have nothing to do with whatever may be going on now during this holiday season.

You may be thinking, “but it doesn’t change anything!” You are correct, but the connections among family members who also happen to be connected by a family business, need a ‘time out’ from the anxiety and complexity that make holidays a mixed blessing for them.  If you are still in a strong relationship with your family and you will be spending time with your family this season, this exercise may help you remember the best part of one another, which can then lead to holiday equanimity.  If you don’t spend time with each other during the holidays, it might make the season more bearable.

Remember ‘tis the season to take care of you too..

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