Thanksgiving is About Community--Even Those People Who Just Drive You Crazy

Do you ever feel a bit like scrooge at this time of year? It’s time to gather with friends and family or it is time to attend the holiday party and the only words that come to mind are “Bah! Humbug!”

It is more than likely that there will be someone you would rather not bump into at one or more of these festive occasions. This particular someone has treated you wrong one time or another in the past, or he/she just knows how to push that red trigger button that makes you go pop.

The problem with us human beings is that we hate the sinner. We get it backwards... We focus on disliking the sinner instead of focusing on disliking the sin. No wonder we struggle with community, and divorce, and depression and loneliness. What if we were to look at that person and truly believe that he or she is doing the best they are able? What if we were able to look at that person and truly believe that they are not intentionally trying to “poke the bear”, but that is just who they are and how they are made to be based on the life they have lived…and that they are perfectly fine-just as they are!

Who are we to fix another human?…We don’t know their life and all that they have struggled through to get to where they are now. We must accept them and love them as they are….and we must set boundaries on their behavior…not on their presence in our lives.

In an activity used to build empowerment in community, an exercise was done where friends stood in a circle. The first prompt for everyone was to share what they liked most about a particular friend. The second prompt was to share what they each found most challenging about the same friend. The result: Each person who shared a strength and a challenge ended up sharing the same attribute. What people liked most about their friend was also what they like least about their friend.

Action Step: Notice what you like least about the person in front of you, and then notice what you like most. It is likely they are different perspectives of the same attribute. Then choose to focus on the positive aspects of that attribute. You have the intelligence, the wisdom, and the power to decide to love (or at least like) the person in front of you. Liking and loving others says so much more about you than it does about others…and the wonderful benefit is that you will be a happier person for living that way!